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Solidarités jeunesses - P.A.C.A. (Provence/Alpes/Côte d'Azur)

description of organisation

1) Aims of the association :
Villages des Jeunes, regional delegation of Solidarités Jeunesses in the Provence Alpes Côte
d’Azur region :
The Villages des Jeunes act for the social integration and the participation of all volunteers as a part of its
action, in particular helping the socially disadvantaged, locally, nationally and internationally.
Its objective is to allow people from different social and cultural situations to work together at something
To enable this, the association runs two international hosting centres, the Faï farm and the hamlet of
From these places, the association leads various types of activities (workcamps for disadvantaged
people and volunteers, hosting events promoting social and international exchange…)…
… which bring together people of different nationalities and cultures (volunteers, families, holiday
… through several activities (decorating the buildings, environmental work, hospitality work, cultural
activities, raising awareness about key issues such as environment)…
… which operate within different areas both social and professional (such as vocational training,
restoring abandoned buildings, preserving the buildings and the environment and thus the heritage of
these places, supporting local projects and stimulating local social activities).
2) Staff
The permanent staff is composed of:
· 1 regional delegate
· 2 directors
· 1 technical coordinator
· 1 social worker (carrier’s advisor)
· 2 technical leaders
Since our activities are more intense between April and October, we recruit more staff in this period: facilitators,
technical leaders, cooks…
2) Target group of the association:
People (adults and teenagers) victims of exclusions, marginalized or living in precarious situations and
international volunteers

motivation and evs experience

Our association, Villages des Jeunes, entered the EVS programme since its
creation. Since then, we host every year 3 long term and 4 to 5 short term EVS
volunteers (of which, some are young people with fewer opportunities) in le Faï.
The Faï used to be an agricultural farm. It is located in the South Alps and has
been transformed into a hosting and international meeting centre. The
association has a double goal here: to revive a place in a rural environment and
to allow people of different ages and different social and cultural horizons to
meet around a project of collective interest.
Throughout the various actions that are implemented, different groups of people
meet and learn how to live and cooperate with each other: young and adults
victims of exclusions, local and international volunteers, holiday makers,
For the European volunteers, the Faï hosting centre offers:
- A support for personal discoveries: collective life, the rural and mountain
environment, cultures from all over the world, new social realities
(exclusion, social and physical handicap), the life of an non profit
- A support to gain new technical and social skills: team work,
responsibilities, social and cultural activities, manual work.
On the point of view of the association, the active participation of European
volunteers helps to enrich the project. The presence of “foreign volunteers”
provokes interrogations and interactions with our “target groups” since the
majority of them are unaware of European programmes. This enables us to
apprehend concepts such as volunteering, citizen action, cultural exchange,
Last but not least, the participation of the European volunteers strongly
contributes to the effort of cultural exchange and social transformation sought
after by our association

project environment

Specific needs
The main purpose of the Fai centre is to promote social, cultural and
generational exchanges between very different people.
For this reason, the association welcomes young people with less opportunities
(faced with social or professional difficulties), as well as young people who come
from rather privileged backgrounds.
The permanent staff of the association has either track records proven in social
fields or a strong motivation to work in the fight against exclusions.
a) The volunteers with fewer opportunities benefit from the experience taken
from the inclusion actions that are carried out throughout the year by the
association: actions towards unemployed people in very precarious situations
and teenagers orientated by specialised institutions.
- Specific training of the permanent team:
Participation in seminars and trainings on the topics of inclusion and interculturality,
participation of the team in the commission “Solidarity and fight
against exclusions”, organised by Solidarites Jeunesses.
- Mobilization of a tutor especially chosen to ensure the individualized
follow up of the volunteer:
The tutor is selected among the permanent team of the centre. It is a person
who has “hands on” experience in the field of inclusion and in the follow up of
people with social disabilities.
b) The individualized follow up:
- Welcoming the volunteer : presentation of the project, tutorship,
discussions about the volunteer’s expectations and personal projects.
- Implementation of a weekly evaluation on the following topics:
Adaptation in the team/group
Acquisition of new skills (cultural, social, technical, linguistic)
Capacity to take on initiatives and responsibilities
Particular difficulties
- Support for the implementation of personal projects
- Participation of the volunteer in collective evaluations

Project environment
Created in 1964, the association “Les Villages des Jeunes, became regional
delegation of Solidarités Jeunesses in Provence-Alps Cote d’Azur in 1996. It is an
association for popular education, registered by the Ministry of Youth and Sport.
The association organises short and long-term international programmes,
inclusion and social actions, trainings, international solidarity actions, and
manages two hosting structures in a rural environment, including the Faï.
The Faï reception centre
The Faï used to be an agricultural farm. It is located in the South Alps and has
been transformed into a reception and international meeting centre. It is located
3 km from the village of Saix (90 inhabitants), in a rural area with a declining
The inhabitants of the farm used to live in a self-sufficient way: they would rear
cattle (sheep), make honey, cultivate fruits and transform lavender. The Fai
farm, as well as several small villages around , was little by little abandoned
throughout the profound changes of the agricultural economy.
In 1987, the two closest villages to the farm (Le Saix and St Auban d’Oze), were
eager to continue the traces of the past and to support a new activity on their
area. With this objective, they created a Dedicated Inter Community Union, with
one common dream: buying this ancient farm and giving it a new life.
In this framework, the association Solidarités Jeunesses Provence - Alpes Côte
d’Azur was established as tenant in 1990 with the mission to transform the farm
into a reception centre.
The almost entirety of the renovation work has been done thanks to international
workcamps and inclusion actions, with the participation of young people with
social disabilities, international volunteers, families…
a) Geographical environment:
The Fai is situated in a very rural area, in the south of Hautes Alpes (05), in the
north of the Provence - Alpes Côte d’Azur region. The centre is perched at alt.
1000 m, in the high valley of Maraize at the end of a little canyon called
Gouravour. The place benefits from one remarkable and very well preserved
natural environment. It is classified as a “sensible site” and hides numerous
treasures, as it concerns its flora, its fauna and its geology.
Not far from the centre is the very small and cute village of Saix. In spite of its
low population (80 inhabitants), it is a very lively village, with whom we organise
numerous events (concerts, festivals, village celebrations, tours)
The closest cities are: Gap (40 km), Grenoble (90 km) and Sisteron (70 km).
Marseille is at 200 km away, travelling south.
b) Description of the Fai centre:
The main buildings of the old farm have been transformed into accommodation
facilities, the centre is now able to receive up to 55 persons:
· The main hosting building, which is used by the permanent staff and the long
term volunteers, provides one dining room and one kitchen on the ground
floor, rooms and offices on the 1st floor, and one room with 8 places in the
· On the right side of the main building (where the barns used to be), 3 studios
in duplex apartments for 4 to 8 persons have been made for holiday makers.
· The old sheep barn (which has been renamed in “Auberg’in”), includes 3
rooms of 3 to 8 places, one collective dining room and one collective kitchen.
· The hosting centre of Fai is also the object of a unique acoustic project of its
kind. Considering its position in the heart of a semi-circled amphitheatre of
mountains, the acoustic of the place is amazing. With the initiative of an
acoustician engineer, this natural phenomenon was amplified by the
construction of two enormous sound horns. Today, the centre owns this
original tool that can “make the mountain sing” and transforms the valley into
a resounding cathedral. This project also gave place to the creation of an open
air theatre.
· Actions held at the Faï:
· Reception of groups and individuals:
The reception activity is one of the most important ones, especially in the
summer. Many groups, schools, families and hikers stay at the centre, either to
take part in renovation and construction activities or simply to take a holiday.
Some other people also come for specific projects such as seminars, training
courses and intercultural exchanges.
The centre is open during the year; however, the activities of the centre are
concentrated to the high season (May to October) and the school holidays.
· Inclusion through economical activity:
Every year, this action targets ten to twelve local people confronted with social
and professional difficulties. The people who take part in this action are salaried
on a part time basis, they come to work 3 days a week. They contribute to the
renovation work of the centre and help us with the reception of groups.
· International workcamps
At the centre and in the villages nearby, the association organises international
youth workcamps in the period between April and October. Every year, these
workcamps involve numerous volunteers coming from all over the world.
c) Activities:
· Preservation of the environment and renovation work: painting, plumbery,
electricity, construction work, landscaping, wood work.
· Cultural activities: concerts and music festivals at le Faï or in cooperation with
local associations. Intercultural meals, thematic days.
· Discovery of the natural environment: hikes, fauna and flora, geology.
d) Collective life
Collective life is a key issue in the project. It is a support for meetings and
exchanges between everyone. For this reason, everybody is supposed to act
responsibly and to take part actively in everyday tasks (permanent staff, salaried
people, volunteers, holiday makers, groups). Meals, household, washing up and
all the efforts to keep the area clean and tidy are carried out in turns and by
small groups. The meals are taken all together between all the residents of the
e) The volunteers’ accommodation:
The people in European volunteer service have accommodation at the main
building of Fai. This building provides one dining room and one kitchen on the
ground floor, one room of 3 places for the long term volunteers on the first floor,
and a dormitory of 8 places in the attic for the short term volunteers.

Proposed activities for EVS volunteers
1) Possibilities offered to the volunteers in terms of training and
· On the point of view of their personal development, the volunteers discover
the life in a rural environment, they are faced with new social realities
(people suffering different kinds of exclusion, in unstable situations, or
handicapped), they can discover new cultures (through the meetings with
other international volunteers), the life in an association (participation in
institutional meetings), the life in a movement (participation in the gatherings
and trainings organised by Solidarités Jeunesses).
· On the point of view of the acquisition of new technical skills, the volunteers
can improve their knowledge of French and English language, discover
manual work (renovation, painting, notions of electricity, landscaping,
preservation of the environment), the management of a reception centre
(welcoming the public, cooking), social and cultural activities (intercultural
evenings, organisation of cultural events and concerts).These possibilities are
offered to all the volunteers. The “level” of implication and the responsibilities
endorsed by the volunteers will mainly depend on the duration of his/ her
project and his/her personal motivation.
Services: Internet access, telephone point, transport to Veynes, Aspres sur
Buech, Lus la Croix, railway station and supermarket.
· Volunteer’s role:
· The volunteers are part of the permanent team who runs the project
throughout the year. They are involved transversely in all the actions that are
carried out by the association.
· They help with the management of the centre, orientate and inform the
newcomers, lead some activities and facilitate interactions and cultural
exchanges between the very different people who come at le Faï.
· The volunteers can be responsible for specific activities:
· Promote the preservation of the environment so that the residents act
responsibly: saving water (the centre is totally provided with natural springs
of water), saving energy, recycling
· Take care of the garden, the animals
· Organise debates amongst the volunteers, projections, intercultural
presentations, international meals with the local community etc.
· Promote international voluntary service and international workcamps to
young people
· Organise activities such as sports, dance and music
· Organise outings to discover the rural environment: visits to local producers
and local events (village celebrations, festivals, concerts)
· Help with the internal and external communication of the association: update
the internet site (photographs, volunteer’s blog)
· Help with the administrative management : translation, statistics, illustration
of reports
French courses are given from the rural social centre of Aspres sur Buëch.
Sports activities and visits in collaboration with local organisations and tourism
Cultural outings (cinema, concerts, festivals)

Volunteer profiles and recruitment process
Solidarités Jeunesses does not ask for any particular competencies from the volunteers
who wish to apply for the medium and long term we offer, and so we have never
established a volunteer profile. At the same time we make every effort to provide our
partners and future volunteers with as much detail as possible about the projects so
that they have everything they need to make an informed decision. Moreover,
according to the recommendations of the Youth in Action program, the European
Voluntary Service must be open to all youth, without distinction of competencies, social
background or sex. In sound accordance with the spirit of the program, Solidarités
Jeunesses considers it necessary to make volunteer projects accessable to everyone
who is motivated and interested in participating.
We expect the volunteer to have a good understanding of the global project and that he
or she will have a desire to be a part of the group and contribute to the collective life.
We look at volunteer service as an exchange between a volunteer who offers their time,
talents and energy to benefit a project of collective interest and the hosting community
which offers the volunteer a place where they can learn, experiment, and grow
personally. Considering these principles, the most important element for the
association is the motivation and commitment level of the volunteer. The volunteer also
needs to keep in mind that the project is situated in a rural area, and that they will be
somewhat isolated.
The idea of partnership is one of the fundamental values of Solidarités Jeunesses. Our
voluntary activities are founded on the principle of exchange and are made possible by
the grace of solid and dependable partners. A good understanding of the partners
allows for the establishment of a working relationship that is based on reciprocity and
trust. However, that does not inhibit us from establishing new partner relationships with
associations that have the same values as Solidarités Jeunesses and who also desire to
create projects of significance for the youth. In effect, thanks to a sprawling network of
partners and an uninterrupted participation in international activities – as part of the
Youth in Action program, among others – we also have the possibility of coming in
contact with new associations and collaborating with them. Our open projects are not
only broadcast within our network, but also in those of dozens of other partner
associations, as well as in virtual networks such as Youth NetWorks.
As a general rule we have regular contact with the partner associations who respond to
our calls concerning open places in our volunteer projects. These partners are the first
to broadcast our projects to youth interested in participating in the European Voluntary
Service. The rôle of the partner associations is essential as it assures not only the
broadcasting of information but also the contact with future volunteers for the purpose
of clarifying to them the value of these projects, the responsibilities of the volunteers
and the hosting association, and the practicalities of the specific projects. After the first
contact, the volunteers send their application to Solidarités Jeunesses and we take it,
along with their letter of motivation, to the hosting organization, acting as an
intermediary. These elements are used at the end of the project as educational tools
and help to evaluate the project and the experience of the volunteers. Solidarités
Juenesses works to insure a good mix of cultures, genders and nationalities in each
project in order to create conditions which enable a rich and fertile intercultural dialog

Number of volunteers 7

Risk prevention, protection and safety
1) Moral safety:
- Meetings are organised at the beginning of each week. These meetings bring together the
permanent staff and the volunteers. These meetings are a good way to prevent risks since they
make it possible for everyone to express difficulties, when there are some.
- Permanent employees and volunteers live in the same place and share the same project.
Collective life, as well as the daily presence of the permanent staff, allow a greater reactivity for
the persons in charge of the project when a problem arise with the volunteers: homesickness,
difficulties of communication etc.
- Regular contacts are instituted between the hosting association (Villages des Jeunes), the
coordinating association (Solidarites Jeunesses national secretariat) and the sending association.
This organisation makes it possible to find the most appropriate solution in case of a difficulty.
2) The hosting of volunteers aged 16 to 17 :
It is possible within the framework of activities specifically planned for teenagers and that have
been declared to the appropriate authority (Local representation of the Ministry of Youth and
3) Physical safety:
As a reception centre, the Faï has a specific agreement delivered by the Prefecture (classification
ERP). This agreement gives authorization to host groups, individuals, adults and minors. The
standards of safety and hygiene of the centre are regularly inspected and controlled.