The municipality of Heusden-Zolder (Bélgica) is a local non profit organisation who gives information and support to its citizens. The municipality provides certain services to the community in co-operation with his municipal services. The contact person and EVS mentor is a municipal official of the social support service. The municipality has 250 employees, 32 are working for the social support service. The volunteer will be working mostly in the city hall of Heusden-Zolder but he/she will also get a glimpse off different kinds of institutions and organisations which support, entertain and offer socio-cultural events to our inhabitants. The volunteer will have the possibility to experience how a municipality is structured and how the social support service is working to keep the social and cultural life active and enriching. Within the social support service we work round youth, elderly, Europe, prevention, integration, educational support, development co-operation, etc… which means a lot of diversity for a volunteer. Basically, the volunteer will work in a group of young and motivated professionals which are always open for new ideas. The volunteer has the chance to create his/her own projects or chose where he/she would like to work with/participate in. Outside this formal working environment we also try to involve our network of local organisations to enrich this EVS experience. Each hosting and sending project is a learning experience to improve the European dimension in our organization and community.
1/09/2015 – 1/03/2016
The municipality of Heusden-Zolder is a local non profit organisation who gives information and support to its citizens. The municipality provides certain services to the community in co-operation with its municipal services. As a local authority it is our duty to contribute to a social and tolerant Europe. We try to give youngster a chance to enlarge their world. Therefore we are a sending and a hosting organisation since 2003. Over the last 9 years we have hosted 7 volunteers, each for a period of six months, and we have send 21 volunteers all over Europe to participate in a long or short term EVS project of their choice. The social support service is by its young and dynamic character an ideal place to support EVS. For the local authority, for our employees, for the youngsters we send and host, EVS is an enrichment. It teaches us to enlarge our horizon, have an open mind, get to know and understand different cultures and create a mentality change.
Heusden-Zolder is situated in the heart of the province Limburg. The municipality has a surface of 5322
ha. Heusden-Zolder is a multicultural community with a rich mining history. The community has
approximately 32.000 inhabitants, of which 35% youngsters with a different ethnic background, especially
from Turkish and Italian origin.
Heusden-Zolder has a lot of culture, preserved nature area’s, lakes, woods and other attractive places.
It is a very active community who tries to entertain, support and understand the needs of its citizens.
Heusden-Zolder is an European community with a multicultural touch.
Heusden-Zolder is not a city but a rural community. The distance between the centre areas and the lack of
good public transport is often a problem for young volunteers. To counter this we try to find a hosting family
nearby a bus stop or train station, provide the volunteer with a buzzy pass, go pass and a bike. Hasselt and
Genk are two small cities close to Heusden-Zolder (15 km) – Louvain is a student city (55 km) – Brussels is
our capital city (100 km).
We always try to find youngsters of Heusden-Zolder to guide the new volunteer, make sure he/she gets
around and helps the volunteer to integrate in our community. To fill in free time we can offer the volunteer a
lot of youth, sports and cultural activities – 4 youth houses – sporting facilities and a cultural centre with a divers
offer of theatre, concerts and movies. We can offer these facilities for free.
The volunteer will be lodging in a hosting family. We search for an appropriate hosting family for each
volunteer. The hosting family provides a second home and social life next to the daily working environment.
Within the social support service we work round youth, elderly, Europe, prevention, integration, educational support, development co-operation, etc… which means a lot of diversity for a volunteer. Because of the multiple role of our service (giving support to all kinds of organisations, initiatives, intercommunal co-operation projects, …) the volunteer will get insight and practical experience in the non-commercial and socio-cultural activities in our community. The volunteer will be bringing in his own cultural background and will teach our target groups about his/her country and culture.
Our main objective is to give the volunteer the chance to broaden his/her horizon, learn something about social work in Belgium and Heusden-Zolder and give him/her a lifetime experience.
– insight and practical experience in the non-commercial and socio-cultural activities in our community
– get to know the different aspects of socio-cultural work in Belgium and Heusden-Zolder
– learn how to work in a team by setting up together small and large scale projects
– get to know differences and difficulties/opportunities of a multicultural community
– learn a new language
– broaden his/her horizon
– lifetime experience
The volunteer will be working in a team of professional workers and volunteers in organising already existing activities but will also given the opportunity to create new projects. A lot of our work involves administration and project management, we will try to avoid to much deskwork for the volunteer but it is a part of this EVS project. We believe the strength of a motivated volunteer is knowledge and job satisfaction. The volunteer will get all necessary background and information about a project before the volunteer can participate. We give the volunteer the necessary space to put creativity and contribution into the job.
• Participate with other volunteers in an art project “Article 27” (this is an annual event during three weeks in November) , which refers to an article of the declaration of human rights “everybody has the right to enjoy art …”. The project brings art of local artists and artist of other countries together. The proceeds will be donated to development projects www.artikel27.be
• Participate with other volunteers and professionals in our project “FairTradeCommunity” which stimulates our citizens, our local organisations, schools and traders to use, buy and sell Fair Trade products. We also try to be an example and make people aware of global warming and what to do about it.
• Participating and co- organising free-time activities and Dutch language lessons (in a playful way) for children and youngsters with different etnic background as a co-mentor on Wednesday afternoon (weekly)
• There is also the possibility according to the interests and capacities of the volunteer to set up activities and promote her/his country and its culture.
• To stimulate the talents and skills of the volunteer he/she can organise workshops, activities or projects for adults and children
Example tasks :
– Promotion : creating leaflets, posters, weblog, (lay-out), youtube, Facebook …
– co-organising or co-participating in activities for different target groups – meetings with colleagues, youth council, city council, … about fairtrade, diversity, youth, social work, our community, …
– setting up and organising workshops/activities and/or projects according to the interests/talents of the volunteer in collaboration with municipal services and other social/cultural organisations
-Monday : 8-19u
– Tuesday till Thursday : 8-17u
– Friday : 7u30-13u, these hours are the normal working hours they can be adjusted to the needs of the volunteer
An example of a workweek (this will change according to the planned activities)
Monday : 9-12u language lessons, 13-17u work and mentor meeting
Tuesday : 9-12u language lessons, 13-17u work
Wednesday : 9-12u language lessons, 13-17u co-mentor ‘Taalstimulering’
Thursday : 9-12u language lessons, 13-17u work
Friday : 9-12u language lessons
During working hours : possibility to mail, chat and phone friends and family
If needed the volunteer will work at evenings and weekends (depends on the organised activities). These hours can be compensated when the volunteer wants to. The volunteer can have a day off whenever she/he needs and if it is discussed with the mentor.
Language lessons: Centre of modern languages in Hasselt
– daily 9-12 hr
– the volunteer can choose how many modules he/she wants to follow
– one module takes 6 weeks
– we advise two modules from September until December, after that the volunteer will work fulltime.
Lodging and meals: hosting family
During the first weeks of the EVS period the volunteer will have enough time to settle and adjust.
The introduction period :
– meeting colleagues, hosting family, the municipality, the youth council, the local youth, …
– on arrival training National Agency JINT
– showing the volunteer around in our community, get to know the nearest town Hasselt, introducing the different leisure activities
Our EVS project is open for all volunteers, we do not ask specific skills but expect the volunteer to have an open attitude, to be social, to be open minded. Our project is available on the EVS database and www.youthnetworks.eu An important aspect for a successful EVS project is good communication between volunteer, sending and hosting organisation, it is the base of a good relationship.
Several months before the final decision we contact possible candidates and ask them about their motivation. We contact them frequently by mail, chat and skype to get to know them better. Our selection is based on the contact with these volunteers. We have a selection team with 4 members – we discus the profiles of the volunteers and choose a volunteer who fits into our organisation, matches with the assignment and is willing to stay with a hosting family.
We are well aware of the fact that the candidates are volunteers so we do not think of them as employees. Everything they do in our organisation is extra, they do not replace one of our employees. If the volunteer is willing to take initiative and has a creative spirit there will be a lot of job opportunities for him/her.
We think it is very important for their own development that they use the knowledge that they pick up in our organisation to create their own projects. We hope the volunteer will share and use this knowledge en gained competences in their future life in their home country.
– Axa insurance
– insurance for all volunteers active in our community
– Guidance and support by a mentor
– A list of emergency phone numbers such as dokter, ambulance but also mobile and home phone number of her mentor, nearest colleagues and hosting family
– The weekly meetings, informal contact with the volunteer and the hosting family should detect problems in an early stage
– In case of emergency of problem situation the mentor will discuss the problem/solution with the volunteer, the nearest colleagues, the hosting family, the hosting organisation, the sending organisation and our National Agency JINT
– We prefere to host volunteers older than 18
– The hosting family plays an important role in risk prevention
– the mentor will have weekly contact with the hosting family to detect problems in an early stage.
Please send your CV and motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “EVS Heusden-Zolder B ”.
Please make sure you write on the motivation letter that Building Bridges will be your sending organisation.