Monthly Archives: November 2014

EVS, Vicolocorto, Sandra,

Well, I´m here again!

I would like to share with you my first impressions but as you can guess from the title my first impressions were already made … six years ago. In that time I arrived visit my friend who moved in Pesaro to live here with her italian boyfriend. I´ve been loving this city since then. The reason is simple. I just love Italy and almost everything aroud … I´ve been in Italy for many times but Pesaro is the town where I spent most of the time although when I heard about Pesaro for a first time I didn´t really know nothing about it. Besides I found the city on a map and read basic information I was very suprised it is a town directly by the sea. Good to know I told to myself and still being wonder what is expecting me I decided to get deeply information directly there.

So I came here to visit my friend and stay at Pesarese´s home. During my stay didn´t get any information about city itself. Maybe because everything was too ordinary to my hosts, maybe as a local took this place like a commonplace. For better imagination I was passing through Rossini´s house every day without knowing it is his house, with no idea about wonderful library or story about “La palla di Pomodoro”. Thanks to this fact Pesaro was for me just an ordinary but beautiful place in Italy by the sea where I had a good time.

EVS, Vicolocorto, Sandra,

But all this have changed because I gain a new point of view from Vicolocorto and local volunteers. Thanks to them I realized that during my fist time which I spent here was Pesaro just a town. Now it is a town with a spirit because I´ve realized how exceptional place it is. I´m not talking about nice people, they are still nice like during my first stay. I´m not talking about beautiful nature and surroundings, it is still beautiful as well. I´m just trying to describe how important is to be aware about where we live. It´s really big diference to share information about this town with people who like it here than with people who take it like a commmonplace. Suprising finding for me – it is still the same town but my point of view has completely changed.

EVS, Vicolocorto, Sandra,

So I have to say my second impression is totally different because now as an european volunteer I have a chance to live here for ten months and I´m very grateful for this possibility. Live in this very friendly town with a deep history, where I can feel spirit of the influence from ancient times over Rossini until now and share space with nice people in the beautiful surroundings … it´s a pleasure for me.

EVS, Vicolocorto, Sandra,

This all happend thanks to Vicolocorto´s activity and especially their volunteers.
In order to explain why I´ve started with surroundings …

EVS, Vicolocorto, hometown, Sandra

I come from the Czech republic.
I´ve lived in the second biggest city with 400.000 inhabitants and after many years I´ve been living there it has became to me so small and known that I decided to leave. And for a longer period if possible. So I decided to apply to Vicolocorto´s active call.

We will see what´s going to happen in this fascinating city !

EVS, Vicolocorto, Sandra,

How to become an EVS-Volunteer

European Voluntary Service – I thought I should explain to you what is behind that phrase, so you will have a better idea of what I am actually doing here.
To put it plainly, the EVS is a chance for young people between the age of 18 and 30 to do volunteer work in any European country of their choice. It’s a chance to make new experiences, see a new culture and meet new people, but also to become involved in a social project and the work that comes with it.
The whole service is funded by the European Union, you will be provided with a place to live, food and some pocket money.
Now all of that sounds really awesome, how can you apply?
That is a really good question, and I asked it myself too when I started to do more research on the voluntary service. There is actually more than one way to become an EVS-volunteer, and for me it required lots of searching and asking to actually understand the application process and how everything works. This is why I will try to explain the various steps, to make it a little bit easier for you to apply 🙂

1. Finding a Sending Organisation
Usually, you start the whole EVS-process with looking for a sending organization in your home country. Maybe you know one already, if not, you can either go to an EVS-information day (if there happens to be one nearby) or you have to go to the internet and open the website:

http://europa.eu/youth/evs_database
There, you can filter the projects and organizations by choosing the country (your home country) and the accreditation type of the organization you are looking for (for this first step it is “Sending Organization”)
The website will then show you many results, and now it is your turn to click on them, read the description and decide if you like what you see and if you want to apply to them.EVS, logo, education and culture, youth in action, Erasmus+

 

  1. Applying to the Sending Organization

As soon as you found some organizations that you like, go to their websites and read the description of the application process: Some organizations only want a few information, others require a lot of paperwork and ask very specific questions to find out more about your personality and motivation.
Also, don’t forget to check the application deadline!! Usually, you have to apply 9-10 months before your planned departure.
It’s always best to apply to more than one organization, in case they have already assigned all of their places!

For me, the first two steps required some research and also lots of motivation, because it was a lot of paperwork and also included an evaluation seminar, where they invited all the applicants and at the end decided if they wanted to support us or not.
For others it is a little bit easier, they only have to find a Receiving Organization and then the sending organization will host them – you see, there are many differences in the process!!

  1. Finding a Receiving Organization

After you got accepted by a Sending Organization, the next step is to find a Receiving Organization in your future host country.
Sometimes, your Sending Organization has partner organizations in other countries and can offer you projects there. But if that doesn’t apply to your Sending Organization or you simply don’t like what they are offering, here comes the second way to get a Receiving Organization:

http://europa.eu/youth/evs_database (yes, this website again :P)

This time, you filter the results by choosing the country that you want to go to and set the EVS accreditation type to “Receiving Organization”.
You can even look for a certain town or a work field that is interesting for you.
Now it is time again to click on the different organizations, read the descriptions and go to the websites of those that really appeal to you.

UPDATE!
With the new round of accreditations this year, there were also some changes made in the database. Usually (and that is the tricky thing) you can only find organizations in the database – not their projects or information about if they need a volunteer at the moment.
With the changes made, the website now shows also the projects of the organization, the duration and if the place is still available.

EVS, logo, education and culture, youth in action, Erasmus+You can then click on the project and a new website will open, giving you a description of the project.EVS, logo, education and culture, youth in action, Erasmus+

This change is really nice, but right now, only the newly accredited organizations have this feature, the big majority doesn’t have information about the exact project – but within the next 2-3 years, every organization should have this feature.

I recommend starting a table where you can write down the name, accreditation number, city and a brief description of the project, so you have a summary of your research at the end.
Here is also a very nice guideline on how to find a project that really fits your personality and needs:
http://europa.eu/youth/article/european-volunteer-service-how-choose-your-ideal-project_en

4. Applying to the Receiving Organization
After you have decided on some projects that you really like, you can either send them a short E-mail to ask if they are looking for volunteers and if they accept applications at the moment, or you can directly send them your curriculum vitae and a Motivation Letter, in which you introduce yourself and the reasons why you want to do an EVS and especially why you want to do your EVS in this specific project.
Normally, your Sending Organization will help you with this, by giving you some guidelines on how to apply. I know it’s a lot of work, but keep going!

5. Waiting
This step is normally the hardest, because sometimes the Organizations won’t reply at all to your application. This is why it is important to apply to many projects and not just to one, and to never give up but keep your motivation 🙂

6. Getting the approval from the National Agency
When you finally got an answer from a project that wants to host you (yaay!!), your Sending Organization and Receiving Organization will cooperate to hand in an application for the appropriation from the European Union.
Now it is up to them to decide if they want to fund your project and invest money.
You have to wait for their response.
Sometimes it’s also possible that the project is already approved and funded, in this case you don’t need to wait for the answer from the National Agency – you see, more differences!

7. ALL DONE!
At some point of your waiting, you will get an E-mail or a call from your Sending or Receiving Organization about the decision of the National Agency. If it’s a positive answer, be happy! You will start your EVS soon!
I know that this is a really long and really complicated process (at least for me it was), and believe me, there were times when I wanted to give up and really asked myself if it was worth it. So far, according to what I have learned in my time here, it absolutely is! You will experience many new things, get a lot of new aspects on life and meet many new people. So don’t give up, but keep up your motivation!

EVS, logo, education and culture, youth in action, Erasmus+

 

A Youth in Action Seminar

Si è svolto dal 5 al 13 giugno, a Dilijan in Armenia, il seminario europeo “Crossroad exclusion and gender”. Al seminario hanno partecipato circa 30 persone provenienti da: Armenia, Ucraina, Bielorussia, Lituania, Estonia, Georgia, Repubblica Ceca, Olanda, Germania, Spagna e Italia.

Vicolocorto International Seminar June 2014 ArmeniaLe discriminazioni di genere sono un problema che colpisce la vita delle giovani donne europee, discriminate in vari ambiti: dal lavoro, alla salute, all’istruzione, alle condizioni economiche e sociali. Ecco perché giovani volontari e lavoratori presso Ong e Associazioni si sono incontrati per discutere sul problema, studiare la situazione in Europa, scambiarsi buone pratiche e redigere progetti per migliorare concretamente la situazione.

Il metodo adottato durante il seminario è quello dell’educazione non formale, con sessioni di lavoro in gruppo in cui il sapere viene condiviso e ci si confronta sui vari temi da affrontare.Molte sono state le simulazioni tra cui una sorta di gioco di ruolo sull’immigrazione, in cui i partecipanti erano o migranti alle prese con la burocrazia, o personale sanitario dei centri per l’impiego, della polizia e delle amministrazioni, che devono gestire le richieste d’asilo e i permessi di soggiorno. Altre attività hanno riguardato il tema delle discriminazioni di persone portatrici di handicap, e LGBT, ma il focus è rimasto sulle esclusioni legate al genere.

I partecipanti hanno avuto modo, oltre che di confrontarsi tra loro, scambiandosi statistiche ed esperienze, anche di conoscere direttamente la situazione armena legata alla disparità di genere e all’omo-transfobia. Un pomeriggio è stato dedicato alla conoscenza della popolazione di Dilijan, che ha aperto le sue porte al gruppo di partecipanti europei, si è lasciata intervistare e ha raccontato la propria opinione su quali sono i ruoli dell’uomo e della donna nella società armena e come i giovani vivono la situazione. Molto interessante è stata la visita nella capitale Yerevan degli uffici di due associazioni: Women Resources center, attivo contro la violenza sulle donne e Pink Organization (pinkarmenia.org), attiva nel riconoscimento dei diritti LGBT, nell’educazione sessuale e riconoscimento dei diritti umani.

Vicolocorto International Seminar June 2014 Armenia

La volontaria del Women Resources center ha illustrato una situazione molto difficile per le donne armene, relegate nel loro ruolo di mogli e madri, a cui è reso difficile poter lavorare e rendersi indipendenti, e spesso vittime di violenze domestiche. Il governo è coinvolto da dieci anni nelle problematiche dell’equità di genere ma è osteggiato nella sua attività da lobby fasciste, nazionaliste e pro-Russia. Il concetto che cambiando la tradizione e la società patriarcale si distrugga l’identità armena, concetto quasi sacro da preservare dopo la tragedia del genocidio, fa sì che sia molto difficile evolvere la situazione e migliorare la condizione di donne, gay, lesbiche e transessuali nel paese. Attualmente non c’è una legge contro le violenze domestiche e si sta discutendo su una legge che impedisca ai medici di rivelare in gravidanza il sesso del bambino, questo per limitare la piaga degli aborti selettivi di femmine. Il numero di aborti praticati sia legalmente che non in Armenia è molto alto, e non c’è educazione sessuale o non è corretta e superficiale.

La Pink Organization si occupa di difendere i diritti di gay, lesbiche e trans, ma attualmente ha dovuto ridimensionare molto il proprio ruolo per garantire l’incolumità dei manifestanti che sono stati spesso attaccati da gruppi nazisti. L’associazione è in collegamento con altre nel Caucaso e le battaglie per supportare i diritti LGBT si collegano a quelle per i diritti delle donne ed i diritti umani in generale.
Al termine del seminario si sono fatte delle proposte progettuali che riguardano i singoli partecipanti nel loro specifico campo lavorativo, creando partnership e motivandosi ad andare avanti, a scambiarsi informazioni e suggerimenti, a creare eventi comuni.

Come partecipante italiana posso testimoniare che questo genere di seminari ha un impatto molto positivo sulla popolazione locale, lo scambio reciproco avviene alla pari e crea un clima molto motivante e collaborativo. Capire qual è la situazione in altri paesi europei riguardo all’equità di genere e aver modo di ascoltare testimonianze dirette fa sì che si comprenda meglio il fenomeno e ci si impegni, ognuno nel proprio campo, per migliorare le cose. Punto fondamentale è riconoscere il problema dell’equità di genere e delle discriminazioni come un tema che riguarda i diritti fondamentali dell’uomo. Creare reti, condividere esperienze e soprattutto dimostrare che il tema dei diritti sta a cuore a molti, facendo sentire la propria voce è uno dei risultati di questo seminario.

Luisa