Volunteering at the ASHA Centre – 2014

Duration: 07.09.2014 – 07.08.2015 (11 months)
Venue: ASHA centre, Forest of Dean, Gloucerstershire, UK
Funded by: British National Agency for the Youth in Action programme
Volunteers: eight volunteers (two from Spain, two from Germany, two from Bulgaria, two from Palestine)

The ASHA Centre is an international retreat and training venue working for greater peace and understanding amongst diverse communities, especially young people. The Centre is located in an old country house in one of the loveliest parts of England – the Forest of Dean. We have five acres of productive vegetable gardens and grounds. We invite young people from war zones and former conflict areas to come for visits where they take part in theatre projects under our Peace Ambassadors Programme.

This EVS project involves eight volunteers from Palestine, Germany, Bulgaria and Portugal for a period of ten months to volunteer at the ASHA Centre, Flaxley, Gloucestershire. The project combines elements of environment protection and biodynamic farming (Steiner School) with hospitality in an innovative and fun-packed programme aiming at fostering active youth participation and a sense of European citizenship. Its learning outcomes include an increased understanding of organic gardening and sustainable living, team building, leadership, hospitality skills and project design skills. This will providing the volunteer with enhanced confidence and self esteem, examples of their work which can be used as portfolio examples for either further education applications or for employment interviews and both hard and soft life skills.

Three main activities are proposed to the volunteers:
– biodynamic gardening at the ASHA center
– hosting international groups on training at ASHA, welcoming them, cooking, providing support, etc.
– support to the develop and presentation of plays at the Theater Picture Drome in Gloucester
– administrative tasks, blogging for the center, archiving, etc.
– taking initiative, developing own projects and events in the local community