1 May for 5 months
The Switch is a part of a bigger organisation. We are an organisation that works with young adolescent girls between 15 and 18 years old that are confrontated with several problems (behaviour, family, social, sometimes psychatric, school…. Before they come and live with us, most of the girls have lived in several settings with bad experiences. We are a project where they can come and have some rest and than we try to find out very individually for each girl and her family context what is the best way to get their life back on the rails, where they still have some power to take their life back in their own hands. Besides help and therapy we want to give them a house/place where they can participate at a lot of attractive activities that aren’t related to their problems (music workshop, painting, horses an other animals…), and so they can have positive experiences (I am good in …, I didn’t know anything about … , but I like it very much)
The context of the project
The project is located 12km from Leuven in a village Sint-Pieters-Rode.
The volunteer will live in a house of Centrum Molenmoes in Wezemaal about 2-3 km from the switch.
Wezemaal is a village 12 kilometers from Leuven in the Flemish part of Belgium. Wezemaal is part of Rotselaar. You have to note that the house is located outside the centre of Wezemaal in rural setting. There is a village centre at 2km with a bancomat, bakery, little shop.
This rural setting is located in the region Hageland, know for its little hills, wineyards and nature reserves. The surrounding is very nice for walking, running, cycling. Although it is located very rural you have very good connection to 2 cities.
The nearest city is Aarschot, app 6km, where you have a swimming pool, cinema, library, train station and buses to get to other parts of Belgium. By bike it takes you 20minutes to get there and with the bus only 5 minutes. The bus is riding every hour in the week.
Leuven is located a bit further. It takes you 20 minutes with the bus to get there. Even in weekends you have on friday and saturday a bus till 2h30 in the night. Leuven is a university city with lots of shops, bars, library, sport centre… and all what you need.
In Centrum Molenmoes there are sleeping rooms for the volunteers. This is your private space.
Kitchen, living room and bathroom is in common with the project and/or other volunteers. The volunteer must be able to live independently. He/She will get a budget to do the shopping. In the kitchen everything is available to cook. In the week you have several buses to Aarschot or Leuven, on sundays every 2 hours. During your stay in Belgium, the bike will become your best friend to get easily to different places nearby.
The volunteer will live together with 3 other international EVS volunteers. These volunteers are working in another project of De Wissel. She/He has to be aware that she/he will live in an intercultural setting. Sharing the house with others means that some agreements will be made either to make sure that the volunteer has his privacy and also that common space are kept clean for use of others. !!! As the other project is related to the hours an days of school, and the Switch is the place where the girls live after school hours, the volunteer of the Switch will have to work in a schedule with other hours than the other volunteers (more after 16h and wednesday afternoon)
From the moment the volunteer arrives she/he will be supported to find his/her way in Belgium and the village he/she lives. We will take care that a network is created around the volunteer, so that his/her social life can develop easily.
The volunteer will have the opportunity to learn about:
Working with socially disadvantaged youngsters and experience how social work is organised in Belgium.
Some pedagogical methods used in the project to work with non-motivated youngsters
Have the opportunity to develop an own project and experience personal growth in this experience.
Work on a day centre in rural setting and taking care of the environment
The role of EVS volunteers in the host organisation:
The volunteer that we are looking for, will be a member of our daily work, as we have to work very individual with the girls. He/she will work in a schedule of about 35 hours a week (dutch lessons included). The EVS’er can participate to the organisations’ life during some days and evenings and take responsability for tasks (cooking, driving a girl to the doctor’s, taking care of animals, hold the house clean), but a big part of the time he/she should invite the youngsters to do activities , show hospitality… ‘Being in the house doing normal daily things and invite the girls to take part of this instead being occupated by their personal problems’ is the most important thing we are asking. Therefor we need a person who speaks good English, who has enough social skills to realise contacts with the girls , invite them, motivate…, who can stand that the girls (because of their problems) don’t react/handle allways in a kind way. The EVS’er also needs to have a license to drive and have enough experience on the way.
Also practical skills are rewarded: able to cook a healty meal for 8 persons in a short time, to work on his own, take initiative. And he/she also has the possibility to use personal skills and interests:
musical, creative, multimedia … to organise workshops for the girls. As we work with individual trajects , flexibility is very important.
A part of the working schedule will be fixed: wednesday afternoon do courses, participate/ organise activities, friday afternoon working in the house: cleaning, organising… , two evenings live and act with us in the living space of the girls, dividing the responsabilities and the tasks with the staff on that moment. Some part of the job will be ‘on the moment’, p.e. when we need somebody to drive a girl to a camp, to a dentist…. According to the skills and the interests of the EVS’er he/she can organise workshops/day program activities (p.e. sport, multimedia, baking workshop …)
During school holidays we need extra help for organising activities during the day and three times a year we organise a camp with our youngsters en we want the volunteer to participate on it.
Profile of the volunteer
Long term EVS:
SOCIAL SKILLS: As we are working with youngsters with difficult background, we want the volunteer to be aware of his influences to these youngsters. Able to deal with young adults and have social skills to communicate with these youngsters. Being open minded and flexible in this work are very welcome. As he/she is working with youngsters with difficulties, he/she has to understand that all kind of problems he/she gets to know from the youngsters are private and not to be communicated outside the project.
CREATIVE: Volunteers that have ideas for projects, activities or have knowledge of certain issues that can give an extra dimension to the project are very welcome
INDEPENDENT: A volunteer who is able to organise his/her work by her own after a while. Taking initiative for own activities and plan them according the the shedule.
The volunteer has to be willing to evolve to an independent way of living in the community. There won’t be all the time a mentor to take care of cooking, going somewhere,…
We prefer a volunteer that makes the choice for a long term period from August/September to June/July.. This to make sure the volunteer has the time to integrate and build up knowledge, independence and integration in the project.
We will collect all motivation letters one month before the deadline at least. It is important to us to have some conversations before we apply to make sure the match for our project is good. So we don’t accept last minutes candidates.
Where are we looking for:
have social skills to communicate, get in contact with the youngsters through his/her tasks on the project.
• mature enough to deal with the youngsters, get along with non-motivated youngsters with behaviour problems.
• Being able to organise some work by yourself, taking initiative for own projects and activities to develop.
• Open minded and willing to discuss and think together with the team about your dealing with the youngsters and task, about the methods,…
• able to live in rural setting (not in a city, nearest city Leuven is 12km)
– transport is by bus and bike, train station 5km from the house
– independent in living, cooking, taking care of yourself
– live in community with others ( 2persons at least), share places in common with others except your sleeping room 😉
willing to learn Dutch (Nederlands)
The volunteer has to organise him/herself for the meals with the budget he/she will get from the project. He/She will get a budget each month for the rest of the food expenses. Lunch/dinner will be taken together in the centre on working moments.
The volunteer will have a room that he/she can lock with a key. Bathroom and kitchen are in common with other volunteers and some social workers that have an office there during the day.
There is an internet connection which can be used.
The volunteer shares a house with 2-3 other volunteers working in another part of the organisation.
The volunteer has the right to take holiday. He/She should mention this in advance on a staffmeeting so we can arrange it in the schedule of tasks. If he/she wants to take a week off, he/she should discuss this in advance with the team. The volunteer has the right on vacation 2 days in the week (mostly weekend) and 25 extra days during the whole year. As the working schedule is different in both parts of the organisation, the EVS’er should know that in the Switch a big part of the work is required during the school holiday periods, so we ask not to plan all free days on that moments.
There will be a bike for the volunteer to go to the shop, the bus or train station. There is a bus passing every hour at 2km from the house.
The volunteer will get an bus pass to travel by bus in whole Flanders and a train cards for some excursions.
He / She will have the opportunity to have Dutch classes. The lessons will be organised according to the arrival date.
There is an online course provided.
How to apply
Building Bridges members and/or long term unemployed (proved by scanned document) will have preference to this volunteer service.
We will study carefully all application and selected candidates will be invite for Skype interview. The selection of volunteers will take place in the coming weeks.
For the selection of the volunteers we will need:
– Europass CV with picture (made in the last month) with skype name included
– Motivational letter, writing that your sending organisation will be “Building Bridges”. We ask all candidates to send a specific letter of motivation – why they want to volunteer with us rather than just a general EVS one. The volunteer is chosen according to his/her motivation and interest to the project and to the activities. It will be paid special attention to cover letters. Remember to write in the motivation letter that your sending institution is “Asociación Building Bridges”.
All documents written in English you can attach below with subject: “EVS Belgium Nele The Switch. YOUR NAME. YOUR SURNAME” to asociacionbbARROBAgmail.com