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To volunteer - To learn and live!
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Apr 30, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project answers the interest of centres and schools of Slezská diakonie (SD), and its partner organisations to host an international volunteer, and to foreign volunteer’s interest to participate in the international voluntary service. The project and its activities will follow in several years’ experience of SD and its partners. The project will be realized in the Moravian-Silesian region which has one of the widest networks of social services and special education due to its history and social and political context. Volunteers will participate in these services and education. Main objective of the project is to enable a voluntary service to 30 international volunteers (8 requiring a personal support) at 21 hosting organisations (HO). Volunteers will come from Germany, Italy, France, Ukraine, Hungary, and Romania. The goal of the project is to support volunteers in their development and learning, particularly in their personal, professional, and spiritual development, and social, intercultural, societal and political learning. These key areas of development and learning will correspond with results in form of higher self-esteem of volunteers, strengthening of their identity, understanding of cultural diversity, and in form of acquired competences and skills which are important for civil and work life, particularly in European and global context. The project also aims to increase awareness about other cultures and countries, supporting them in mutual understanding and tolerance. The goal of the project is also to support other participants in their learning and development, enrich their lives, and provide them with a unique “foreign” experience. This experience is significant if we consider the fact that most of the users of services have very limited options to travel abroad. A participation of volunteers also aims at increasing the motivation of HOs and their users. The project does not have high demand on volunteer’s profile. The most important “quality” of volunteers is their motivation to participate in the service and to learn Czech language, to be willing to learn new things, to accommodate to new situations, and to be flexible. Other key qualities are empathy, willingness to communicate appropriately and use alternative ways of communication, and ability to treat others with respect and with regard to human dignity.Volunteer should be determined, patient, and tolerant to the Christian profile of the organisation. The core of the project is work with various people (children or adults with mental, health, and combined disabilities, excluded youth, youth endangered by social pathologic phenomena, etc.) in social services and schools providing education to students with disabilities.At their HOs, volunteers will carry out activities in form of individual support and accompaniment of users and students. Main part of the activities will be carried out in direct contact with users and students.Support of volunteers and prevention of possible conflicts and problems will be secured by regular supervisions of volunteers with their supervisors (monthly) and coordinator (once in two or three months). During the year, volunteers are supported in their development and learning, especially during regular supervisions, during On arrival, Midterm, and Evaluation seminars, and also during HO visits (Study Visits) and during Christmas meeting, which are all organised by the coordinating organisation. Activities and processes during the project are discussed between the head of the Section of foreign relations, coordinators of the project, and other participants of the project who are involved in these activities and processes.The project will be realised using participative and qualitative methods during all three stages of the project. Results of the project and its impact will be in form of development of volunteers, HOs, their users, and close community.Volunteers will get to know themselves better, gain valuable experience, and discover new perspectives and points of view.Volunteers will develop their language skills, independence, initiative, ability to communicate, ability to work in multicultural team, and empathy and solidarity.Being in contact with other culture, volunteers, and HO staff and users will share their life experience and values which will lead to breaking of stereotypes and prejudices.Participation of volunteer at a HO will lead to enriching of lives of their users and increasing the quality of provided services.Project will also have a positive impact on local community which will get to know new culture and country.This will break its stereotypes and prejudices.Long-term benefit of the project will be mainly visible in the development of volunteers, supervisors, HOs and their workers and users.Long-term benefit of sending org. and coordinating org. will be in form of development and learning of staff, development of trust between partners, and also improvement of quality of future projects.
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