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European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.



EVS Accreditation Details
EVS accreditation type
EVS accreditation expiry date 26/04/2015
Location SAINTES, France
Organisation topics
Art and culture
Inclusion topics
Social difficulties
Economic difficulties

EVS accreditation number


For more information about volunteering and European Voluntary Service in particular, visit the Voluntary Activities section of this website.

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Project Environment

Specific needs
For the hosting of young people with fewer opportunities, the Abbaye aux Dames will rely on the Mission Locale, coordinating organization who assumes a material, social caring Weekly, volunteers hosted on the local community will be brought together, at the Mission Locale. This collective time will able to do an evaluation, to share experiences and also to develop a collective action for the local community : exchanges with young people about EVS, Europa, cultural events to promote their country,...
At the Abbaye aux Dames, the volunteer will follow a mentor, member of the professional staff. This mentor will take part in a training, before the volunteer coming, organized by the Mission Locale : presentation of the Charta EvStarterShip and the European partners, short-term voluntary, the role of the mentor, etc.
The Abbaye aux Dames will take in charge accommodation and meals of the volunteers during all the SVE period. For each of his/her activities, the mentor or her colleague who organises the artistic activities workshops will be in charge of the volunteer.
The volunteer will be in contact with children, local inhabitants, artists and local cultural institutions, intensive courses in French will be organised for a total of 10 weeks that will be spread over its volunteering

Project environment
Local Community
The Abbaye aux Dames is based on Saintes, a town of 30,000 inhabitants, built around a river (Charente), in the south east of the country, near the ocean coast, in a region called Charente-Maritime. Saintes is a quiet town, at 30 kms from Royan, great tourist seaside resort, 70 kms from La Rochelle, very famous port, and 110 kms from Bordeaux. Saintes has a railway station, a bus station (Eurolines and local bus). Saintes offers a very rich heritage to discover, with monuments dating from antiquity through to prestigious buildings of the 17th century. Many reasons to come and explore a charming historic city while enjoying the mild climate of the mid-Atlantic coast.
The town is twinned with 4 European towns : Xanten in Germany, Salisbury in Englan, Nivelles in Belgium, Cuevas del Almanzora in Spain, and with Tombouctou in Mali and Vladimir in Russia.
There are many associations for the leisure time, in particular cultural and sports clubs. Saintes has a swimming-pool, a bowling, a dancing club, several cinemas, a theater. During the summer, Saintes becomes a tourist city with outdoor activities, discover of historic city and because of several festivals.
Host organization
The Abbaye aux Dames is a local partner of the Mission Locale de la Saintonge, itself member of a new european partnership « EvStarterShip ». The aim of this charta (ESS), between Mission Locale de la Saintonge and 4 others partners (from Poland, Germany, Spain and Czech Republic) is to give youngsters better possibilities : to be open to all kind of differences, to take part in the non formal education on an European level, to increase their mobility and provide them cross-cultural exchanges. According to this, we hope to improve their capacities and competencies for a better social and vocational integration on a personal level and by this towards their own local community. We engage to follow, respect and apply the quality criteria to host and send to each other short-term volunteers

Proposed activities for EVS volunteers
The volunteer will participate in several artistic and educational projects during all his/her volunteering, and particularly in:
- the organisation of artistic workshops dedicated to the young local public, on musical and architectural thematic,
- the organisation of Jeune Orchestre atlantique tours in France, Malta, Czech Republic and Poland (preparation of musicians’ travels, agreements, letters, communication tools and their translation), in November 2012, January 2013 and July 2013.
- The organisation of a painting exhibition and a fashion show in collaboration with the Academy of Arts in Lodz (Poland) in July 2013
- The organisation of the Festival de Saintes in July 2013
For all these activities, the volunteers will be always supported by his/her mentor, a colleague at the host organisation, or a professional artist. His/her personal project will be integrated in the proposed activities.

Volunteer profiles and recruitment process
The Abbaye aux Dames would like to welcome young people with fewer opportunities.
The Abbaye aux Dames works with the coordination organisation Mission Locale de Saintes. This organisation, partner in a charta EvStarterShip with 4 other European organisations, will make the selection from candidates sent by these 4 partners, as a priority, and after from others sending organisations, according with the serves’s staff.

Number of volunteers
The Abbaye aux Dames would like to welcome one volunteer in the framework of a long-term EVS.

Risk prevention, protection and safety
The Abbaye aux Dames respects all its legal obligations in report with the French regulations and the labour law.

Motivation and EVS experience

The organization is involved in the local partnership built by The Mission Locale. The aim of this local project is to host short-term volunteers, including youngsters with fewer opportunities, in our local community to create a European dynamics and to make Europe a daily reality.
The Abbaye aux Dames uses to host international musicians, artists and spectators and to host young people during their training courses. So, they are very sensitive of this European project. Furthermore, they promote an art, the music, without borders, universel.

Description of the organisation

Founded in the 11 th century, the Abbaye aux Dames was the first monastery for women in the Saintonge and from its foundation I was very wealthy during the 745 years of monastic life until the 18th century. Overs the years, it was transformed into a hospital, a prison, and then an army barracks. Today it has been remarkably restored and once again is a lively institution through the various musical and cultural activities that take year-round : le Festival de Saintes, concerts, lectures, professional training courses, artistic workshops dedicated to young and local publics, etc.
The Abbaye aux Dames is an association formed under the law of 1901 concerning associations. The association is comprised of 20 employees and over 900 members (April 2012).
The aims of the association are :
• To express its musical project (particularly its interpretation) and to integrate it into a national and international network,
• To be a place for artistic production of international reference (the association organizes and runs the Festival of Saintes),
• To ensure the continued development of the Abbaye aux Dames
• To be a logistical support to current and future activities, and promote the development of skills,
• To promote the Abbaye aux Dames as a conference centre, and as host for training courses and artists residencies,
• To be a centre for continuing professional education.
The festival, which serves to highlight the ongoing training programs at the Abbaye aux Dames, welcomes each summer an average of 12,000 spectators from France and abroad in a particularly friendly atmosphere. The Jeune Orchestre atlantique welcomes each year 120 young musicians from 15 different European countries. The “Voie d’Enfance” programme offers the opportunity to children and teenagers to have informal / formal training in vocal practice. In report with the invited artists of its “saison musicale”, musical workshops are organised the year long at the Abbaye aux Dames.

Contact details
Please note, the selected organisation cooperates with a different EVS organisation to handle enquiries on its behalf.
Street 15, rue St Eutrope BP 67
Postal code 17103
Town/city Saintes Cedex
Country France
Email address baddad.z@milo-saintonge.asso.f
Website www.abbayeauxdames.org
Telephone number +33(0)5 46 97 49 50
Fax number +33(0)5 46 97 49 70

Last update: 20/07/2012