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European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.


AFS-Heilig Hart Dienstverleningscentrum

EVS Accreditation Details
EVS accreditation type
EVS accreditation expiry date 18/11/2014
Location Deinze (Bachte-Maria-Leerne), Belgium
Organisation topics
Inclusion topics

EVS accreditation number


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

Please note, information about organisations and projects is only available in English.
Project Environment

Project environment:
Outline the project environment for the suggested voluntary Service, including the local community where the project will take place (e.g. geographical, social and economical environment). If the host placement is located in a live-in community, please include the rules and conditions that apply also for the volunteer.
Deinze is a rather moderate town with about 30000 inhabitants. There is a youth centre where lots of activities are organised. There are lots of cafes and places to go out. There is also a train station and lots of busses with connection to Ghent, the closest big town. Brussels is about 45 minutes away.
In Deinze, there are a lot of youngsters and organisations the volunteer can participate in.
AFS, the coordinating organisation, will provide a host family for the participant, as we strongly believe that this is the best introduction to the Flemish culture and a great opportunity to integrate in the local community. The host family will provide lodging and food. They will be living close to the project and will be Dutch-speaking. AFS encourages the host family to use Dutch as a communication language with the volunteer, to help him/her to practise the Dutch language.

Proposed activities for EVS volunteers:
Please explain:
• what you can offer to volunteers in terms of Service and learning opportunities,
• what will be the role of EVS volunteers in the Host Organisation,
• the activities in which the volunteers could be involved and the activities the volunteers could create in your organisation. Please give examples of typical activities/tasks for the volunteers.
We can offer volunteers experience with people with a mental handicap. We teach them how to communicate with body language and to observe carefully. They get the oppurtunity to work together (teamwork) in a different cultural environment. Social skills will certainly be trained.
The volunteers will mostly help with leisure activities and help with the meals. Some examples are: ‘snoezelen’ (a method to make the people aware of the surroundings and different senses), walking, swimming, horse-riding, cooking, massages, bicycle-riding/go-carts, music : sound bowls, didgeridoo, working with different materials, create some things with guidance, computer,…
All weekdays : (general) Helping with the education and nursing of people with a mental handicap.
- 10%: helping in a group : support giving breakfast and lunch, little household jobs,
- 10 %: entertaining the people in their free time (eg. the moments where disabled people are waiting because the educators have to wash or feed another child/adult.): this can be done with the toys already made by the centre or with little games. The people working in the centre have experience with this and can help out the volunteers with this. The volunteer can also use certain workboxes that the centre developed (working with certain themes, eg. Sound, Touching, etc.). The volunteer can, if he or she is creative, develop own boxes, together with the disabled people from the centre. Helping to create toys, which are easy to handle for people with a motor/mental handicap.
- 15%: helping in a class (children) or activity group (adults). - 10% attending meetings, planning activities (while the people are resting).
- 25 % supporting activities: Snoezelen (Dutch word, non translatable, but means: working on the senses of the people with light, sound, touching, etc. The centre developed an own ‘Snoezel’ room with all sorts of equipment), walking, swimming, horse-riding, riding with bicycles, massages, music (listening to relax, or even playing instruments), cooking, … The organisation has its own activity groups where occupation therapists work with the people with a handicap on a professional basis.
- 30 % General activities: Helping to decorate the living areas and therapy rooms. Going along with day trips (to the coast, woods, luna parks …): About every two weeks there are trips outside of the centre. Attending big happenings inside the institution (Open doors Day, special theme Day, etc.)
In holidays:giving more activities (no class anymore) & when the weather is good : lot’s of walks, bicycle rides,..
Within the last two parts (supporting activities and general activities), the volunteer can develop a personal project. There are occupation therapists and staff members to organise those activities, but when the volunteer feels comfortable after a while, he or she can develop something personal. He or she will get time and space to do this.
AFS, the coordinating organisation, will provide Dutch language lessons for the volunteer. These lessons will be given by an experienced teacher and will be organised in a central place that is easy to reach by public transport. The lessons will be organised weekly in the first weeks of the project.

Volunteer profiles and recruitment process:
Please describe the profiles of volunteers you would like to receive in your organisation. Include information on how you ensure an open and transparent recruitment process as well as the overall accessibility of EVS to all young people. Consider further information about the type of Sending Organisation you want to cooperate with. This information can help the match-making between volunteer candidates, Sending Organisations and your organisation.

The volunteer should like to work with people and we also think that it is important to have a close relationship between inhabitants and staff/volunteers, and between staff and volunteers. Therefore we ask from a volunteer social skills. The volunteer will need a dose of patience to observe and to listen to the inhabitants. Teamwork is very important. The volunteer should be ready for openness in communication about all topics.

The recruitment will be done by our AFS as coordinating host organisation.
AFS, the coordinating host organisation, strongly believes in the intercultural learning aspect of an EVS-experience. Therefore, the volunteer will be living with a volunteer host family, as we believe this is the best introduction to Flemish culture and a great opportunity to integrate in the local community. Candidates should be willing to share in the host family's daily life (spend some free time with them, occasionally join the family on activities outside the house, eat together, give a helping hand in the household... ) and should be motivated to live with and learn about Flemish people of different ages and opinions. They should also be willing to adapt to the local eating habits. On the other hand, we guarantee a family that is interested to learn about your culture and background and that respects your values and beliefs. Living in a host family is an excellent opportunity for both you and the family to broaden your cultural horizons!
Candidates who are not sure this suits their profile are advised to get in touch with someone who has experience with living in a host family. If you already know you prefer to live independently, please refrain from applying for this project.

Number of volunteers hosted:
Please state the maximum number of volunteers your organisation is able to host at the same time (ensuring all quality, learning, and welfare standards of EVS for each volunteer): 1

Risk prevention, protection and safety:
Please describe:
• how you will guarantee a safe living and working environment for the EVS volunteers,
• how you will prevent risks and crises,
• how – in the case of EVS volunteers aged 16 or 17 – you ensure appropriate supervision, protection and safety.
The project will assign a personal mentor / contact person to the participant, so he/she can always ask this person for help or guidance.
We give information on working ergonomic (how to lift persons and things). The volunteer has to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, also against tetanus and tuberculoses.
AFS, as coordinating host organisation will give every project and every participant a local contact person, that will stay in contact and will regularly ask for an evaluation to improve the situation for all parties. In case of emergency, AFS has an emergency-mobile phone, which can be reached 24h/24h, in case of emergencies.
AFS will arrange the enrolment of the volunteer in the Group Insurance Plan for EVS, provided by AXA. Next to this we will also ask the project to register the volunteer in the group insurance of the workplace. We will also make sure that the participant has all needed emergency contacts of the project, the host family, the local volunteers and our organisation.

Motivation and EVS experience

The organisation has been working with international groups already. We work with international students (work experiences). We can count on local Flemish volunteers. The staff members notice that this is of great value for the inhabitants. The help of the volunteers creates more time for individual coaching and to experiment with new activities. Because of the EVS volunteer, we were able to try out new games, a new communicationwall, and lots of other things. The international character of the EVS volunteers gave rise to interesting interactions because of their different cultural background and of the different language. These foreign interactions have a positive effect on the inhabitants. The enthousiasm of the volunteer often motivates members of the staff. Especially the long term EVS volunteers who stay 6 months can really have a close relationship with the inhabitants and the staff. They are part of the daily routine, that is very welcome for our inhabitants. This is less the case with our local Flemish volunteers, who only come a few times in a longer period. The organisation thinks that starting a structural cooperation with a foreign volunteer can only add to the things they are doing already. The organisation already works with volunteers and has experience with setting up special projects. The combination of these two can have an interesting result.
DVC Deinze has been working with AFS as coordinating host organisation since the end of 2002.
Since then DVC Deinze has hosted several EVS volunteers. In the future DVC Deinze is willing to host new participants, together with AFS as coordinating host organisation, and host one participant yearly, for 6 months (February-July).

Description of the organisation

DVC Deinze takes care of the education and nursing for children and adults with a moderate, severe or deep mental handicap and also organises activities for them. Most of the people also are motor disabled persons, they have often health problems and/or sometimes behaviour handicaps. These are people with a multiple handicap. More then 300 people are staying here. The people can stay here on fulltime basis. They stay in groups of 8 to 10 people. Every group has its own appartment. Next to the taking-care, they also get a lot of therapies : occupation therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy. The volunteers will mostly help with leisure activities and help with the meals.

AFS is an international, voluntary, non profit organisation that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more peaceful world. AFS does this through several exchange programs, like EVS.
AFS works in cooperation with several AFS partners in more than 50 countries world wide. On a European level we are represented by the European federation for Intercultural Learning.

Contact details
Please note, the selected organisation cooperates with a different EVS organisation to handle enquiries on its behalf.
Organisation name AFS Intercultural Programs - Belgium Flanders
Street Hendrik Consciensestraat 52
Postal code 2800
Town/city Mechelen
Country Belgium
Email address evs-belgiumflanders@afs.org
Website www.dvcheilighart.be
Telephone number +32 15 79 50 10
Fax number +32 15 79 50 11

Last update: 22/11/2011