Discover the Caucasus – Volunteering across cultures 2

Erasmus +Duration: 6-12 months with different departure dates
Venue: Dilijan (Armenia) and Rustavi (Georgia)
Funded by: Erasmus+ programme,
German National Agency
Hosting organisations:
1. Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan NGO, Armenia (2 placements)
2- SIQA – Georgian Association for Educational Initiatives, Georgia (2 placements)

The European Voluntary Service “Discover the Caucasus – Volunteering across cultures 2” brings four volunteers from Germany to get active in two different EVS hosting organisations:

– Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan (YCCD) in Dilijan, Armenia (2 placements)
– SIQA – Georgian Association of Educational Initiatives (SIQA) in Rustavi, Georgia (2 placements)

The EVS services will take place for 8 to 12 months.

The project aims to empower young people from Germany, Armenia and Georgia. Specific objectives include:
– to qualify four young volunteers to become youth leaders and to engage into activism fostering social inclusion, equality and peace in Europe and its neighbouring countries
– to foster intercultural, interpersonal and social competences of volunteers from Germany and deprived youth from the communities of Dilijan (Armenia) and Rustavi (Georgia)
– to promote volunteering and active participation as a tool for personal and professional development, thus for employability

The EVS project features the following characteristics:
– it is centred on the volunteers’ needs and enhances their sense of initiative and active participation: the volunteers are full actors of their EVS; they are not told what to do and how to do it but are supported to shape actively the project, to bring in their personality and ideas into the activities
– it is flexible and adaptable, it responds to the needs and wishes of the volunteers over the duration of the service
– it is peer-to-peer: activities and learning take place with and for young people and foster a lot of exchange among youth with different backgrounds

Activities planned during the voluntary service are as follow:
– Preparation, implementation and evaluation of non-formal educational activities for children and youth on European cultures, specific themes or languages (workshops, discussion clubs, movie screening’s, etc. depending on the interest of the volunteers)
– Preparation, implementation and evaluation of leisure activities for local children and youth (arts and crafts, dancing classes, sport activities, role games – depending on the interest of the volunteers)
– Promotion of volunteering and active participation in local schools, youth clubs and events
– Support to the hosting organisations with running activities and projects
– Support to dissemination and visibility strategy of the project (blogging, writing articles, answering interviews, social media promotion, etc.)
– Learning the local language and getting acquainted in the local community

Fundraising with betterplace.org

The project is registered for fundraising on the Betterplace.org platform under following link: www.betterplace.org/p10785 and on PayBack page here. 

News from the volunteers!

October 1, 2015: Arrival of Amelie at SIQA Association in Rustavi, Georgia. She will volunteer there for the upcoming 12 months.

October 16, 2015: Arrival of Ricardo at Youth Cooperation Centre in Dilijan, Armenia. He will volunteer there for the upcoming 12 months. Ricardo has a blog! You can follow his discoverings’ and experience in Armenia at (external link) http://www.ricardobergmann.eu/
Ricardo will live in a local family for the first 6 weeks of the service and then move to a shared apartment with two other volunteers from Italy.

November 2015: the volunteers attend their On-Arrival Training organised by SALTO-EECA in Misaktsieli, Georgia.

December 2015: First snow in Dilijan, Armenia! Check out the pictures of Ricardo on his blog here. There is also a short summary of how the European Voluntary Service of Ricardo is running, two months after his arrival in Armenia, here.

January 2016: the volunteers in Dilijan support the Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan NGO to create monthly video’s highlighting the activities of the organisation, check out the video of January here! You can also check the blog updates of Ricardo on his personal blog @ http://www.ricardobergmann.eu/voluntary-service/

January 15, 2016: arrival of Marcel on the YCCD NGO placement in Armenia for 8 months!

February 1, 2016: arrival of Hikaru on the Association SIQA placement in Rustavi, Georgia for the next 10 months!

February 2016: Amelie describes how travelling with mini-bus is a real adventure in Georgia, check out her article here. 

March 2016: Amelie gives us an insight on her thoughts related to borders and conflicts in the Caucasus, read her article here.

April 2016: an article about the experience of Ricardo at the YCCD in Dilijan, Armenia, has been published in the newspaper of the University of Bielefeld (H1 – Das Magazin der Universität Bielefeld). Check it out on page 28! (external link)

April 2016: Amelie is already back in Germany after her 6-months European Voluntary Service in Rustavi, Georgia. Read about her experience in the Caucasus here!

May 2016: we visited our volunteers in Dilijan, Armenia, and discuss all the projet’s details with the representatives of the Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan NGO.

June 2016: Hikaru and Marcel attended their mid-term evaluation meeting in Kobuleti, Georgia, organised by SALTO-EECA.

June 2016: check out the article of Hikaru explaining her path learning a new language from the scratch, Georgian! 

September 2016: the summer has passed and Marcel and Ricardo finished their EVS service and are back to Germany. Hikaru however is starting over again youth clubs at Association Siqa in Rustavi. Here she tells us about the organisation of a Handicraft exhibition in the park during the summer.

October 2016: sometimes things come unexpected! The EVS volunteers of last year, Hanna and Lucie, came back to Rustavi in October for (besides holidays in Georgia) presenting their short documentary movie about volunteering in Rustavi, that they finalised this year. They hold a meeting at SIQA office and ran an interview for a local TV channel (check out the interview here on Youtube). As well they were on the radio with their former coordinator to talk about their experience, check it out here! 

Beside this, Hikaru decided to stay longer on the project and will be in Association Siqa until end of January 2017 (12 months service instead of 10 months initially planned). And another volunteer from Germany joined her mid October.

December 2016: another volunteer from Germany joined Hikaru in Rustavi, just before Christmas. The volunteers will spend holidays in Georgia and visit Azerbaijan beginning of January.

January 2017: Hikaru’s last month in Georgia is over, she came back to Germany beginning of February. With her departure, this EVS project will come to an end. Check out her article about household tasks in the shared flat in Rustavi here. 

Pictures of the service in Rustavi, Georgia

Pictures of the service in Dilijan, Armenia