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Portale Europeo per i Giovani

Informazioni e opportunità per i giovani in Europa.


"BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE" Youth Public Union

Tipo di accreditamento SVE
Data di scadenza dell'accreditamento SVE 25/01/2015
Località Ganja, Azerbaijan
Settore di attività
Urban/Rural development
Education through sport and outdoor activities
Temi sull'inclusione
Social difficulties
Cultural differences
Economic difficulties
Geographical difficulties

Numero di accreditamento SVE


Per maggiori informazioni sul volontariato e sul Servizio volontario europeo, consultare la sezione Attività di volontariato del sito.

Le informazioni sulle organizzazioni e sui progetti sono disponibili solo in inglese.
Project Environment

"Opening the European Family to Azerbaijani Orphans" is a service program for 2 EVS volunteers. Over the course of 9 months, volunteers will work with SOS Children's Village, Ganja City State Orphanage and serving needy and orphan children in Ganja, Azerbaijan. Our office is located in the city centre. Working days are through Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 18.00 pm. Our staff consists of governing board: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Finance, Control Inspection Committee and program staff. During the workdays, volunteers will lead groups of children in educational, recreational, cultural, artistic, and athletic activities. In the first part of day from 10.00 am 13.00 pm our office will be available for volunteer for their preparation for their work and meetings. With 2 hours of break between this time period for lunch and etc. Later between 15.00 to 17.30 pm they will be activities in form of classes, courses, workshops, clubs, games, competitions, and excursions held by volunteers in SOS Children's Village. Since most of the target population attends school between mid-September and mid-May, the work schedule will primarily allow volunteers time for activity preparation in the mornings and activities in the afternoon and early evenings. In addition, pre-school aged children will be available for activities throughout the day should volunteers desire to work with this age group. Volunteers will have extensive opportunities to raise awareness of the EVS program both in Ganja and throughout Azerbaijan’s regions during their period of service. By using both formal and non-formal education methods in teaching art, culture, sport and outdoor activities, this program hopes to further develop solidarity and promote citizenship and mutual understanding among young people, especially among this vulnerable and excluded group. Volunteers will have days off Saturdays and Sundays.

In the course of the program, EVS volunteers will have multiple opportunities to ensure the project's visibility and promote the Youth in Action program in general. On the local level, media coverage will be involved at the official opening of the program shortly after volunteers' arrival, as well as at significant events organized by volunteers and the hosting partner organization throughout the duration of the project. Regular press releases to local and national media outlets as well as website updates by the hosting partner organization will inform the public about volunteers' continued activity in the community. Furthermore, volunteers will have opportunities to meet with local representatives of relevant government ministries such as Education, Youth and Sport, and Culture and Tourism, as well as participate in local NGO forums and community events. Their presence and participation will attract public attention and inform the community about the ongoing project. In addition, volunteers are welcome to be involved, observe or attend other projects currently being run by Bridge to the Future.

The main aims of the volunteer work are to organize physical and cultural educational activities for orphans, promote the healthy lifestyles of participants and build awareness of European countries' distinct and common identities. Involving local youth volunteers from secondary schools and universities to organize occasional large-scale sporting competitions for local children promote youth volunteers' active participation in society, at the same time facilitating general societal inclusion of orphan children.

The volunteers will be active providing daily after-school activities for orphan children focusing specifically on arts, culture and sport. While specific content of lessons will be dictated by volunteers’ individual interests and expertise, we envision regular classes exposing children and volunteers to various art forms to include visual (drawing, painting, photography, etc.) and performing (music, dance, theatre, etc) arts specific to all participants' cultures. Further cultural education and exchanges will take place through activities demonstrating volunteers' and children's cultures (i.e. food, literature, national pastimes, etc.), again subject to specific interest and background of volunteers. Since participant children are young and active, sport and outdoor activities will also form a core element of volunteers' activities. The specific activities to be selected shall be decided by volunteers. However, there is sufficient space at the orphanages to involve children in various small and large group sporting events, as well as general outdoor physical activities. Further, to encourage social integration of orphan children, occasional large-scale city-wide sport competitions will be organized by volunteers with the assistance of partner organizations staff and local youth volunteers. Additionally, volunteers will have the opportunity to accompany participants on excursions to near-by nature areas for hiking, environmental education, and enjoyment of the outdoors.

During their volunteer period in our organization they will get a chance to know more close about our organization’s missions and how organizations focuses in engagement of young peoples to active participation in community building. They will have an option to be involved in our national level projects also to get in to direct realization of projects. Where they will gain practical and theoretical knowledge about project writing and organizational process. These all mentioned points and advantages will enable and give experience to volunteers to take initiative for their future projects and plans. Also, will build up leadership skills. Beside this they will have a chance to get to know more close about countries culture, people and traditions. Concerning the experience and work in Azerbaijan the volunteers will be provided with all the needed information. During the activity the volunteers will be supported by the members of Bridge to the Future experienced in youth work – they will be offered trainings before starting the work as well as coaching support. At the end of the activity, the volunteers will be supported to reflect on their learning process and results on the project. They will receive help to prepare their own certificate Youthpass. After the project the volunteers should participate in the Evaluation Meeting. They will also be encouraged to implement the results of their work in their local community, as well as to run activities promoting EVS Program to young people in their home country. EVS is not extremely well-known in Azerbaijan, which provides a unique chance for volunteers to spread awareness about the program across the regions of the country, developing future opportunities for enlargement of the program here. Throughout the course of the program, volunteers will be involved in several trips to Azerbaijan’s regions, wherein meetings will be arranged with local NGOs and active youth to publicize the EVS program. Due to the relative rarity of European visitors to these regions, volunteers will attract great attention and support of local youth, NGOs, and government bodies. By arranging bi-monthly trips during the course of the program, such opportunities for promotion of EVS will be extended to six regions outside of the hosting community.

The example of the week programme:
* Every morning Monday – Friday: 10:00-11:00 Preparation - in organization office- methodology & expectations; 11:00-13:00 Helping to organization staff work in international projects and working with volunteers
* On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 15:00-17:30 Volunteers in SOS children's village
* On Tuesday and Thursday: 15:00-17:30 Ganja City State Orphanage
* Every evening Monday – Friday: 18:00-19:00 Summary of the day: evaluation of the lessons learnt, discussion and reflection
The weekly programme will be adapted to the volunteers experience and suggestions.

The profile of the volunteers is characterized in the call for volunteers that is prepared together with Bridge to the Future and Centre for Youth Initiatives and send to several youth networks (Youthnetworks, coordinators of the other members of Youth for Exchange and Understanding networks, as well as individual EVS sending organizations with whom we had already cooperated with in the past). The volunteers are required to have adequate English communication skills in order to cooperate with local staff and help the children to improve their language skills. Other desirable features included: energy, motivation, creativity, and patience, since past experience by Bridge to the Future with short-term summer camps in the orphanage show these to be essential characteristics of successful volunteers. Formal experience in teaching was not required however, experience working or volunteering with children or youth in some fashion was considered important to show an applicant's potential for excelling in the project. Additionally, the volunteers should be motivated to work with children from different cultural backgrounds. The selection will be together with sending organization to whom the applications were forwarded. After exchanging opinions about the candidates, the decision going to be by mutual agreement. In the selection process we take into consideration country and gender balance (we can receive only the applications from Program Countries). Selection primarily base on the applicant's previous experience working or volunteering with youth or children, enthusiasm to participate in the program (both in terms of working with orphans and living in Azerbaijan), and ability for cultural adaptation displayed through past study/living abroad. The future selected candidates should state their very willing to work with children from different backgrounds and prepared to share their skills. They should mentioned in their applications their desire to experience living for one year in the country of Azerbaijan and to explore a new foreign culture. They also should expresses their experience in volunteerism and excitement to work with children in Ganja. The workshops in the orphanage and Children's House will provide additional activities for the children, and the EVS volunteers will assist and augment the regular existing employed staff. Rather than replacing existing employees or preventing the organizations from hiring new staff, EVS volunteers will provide programming and activities that would not otherwise exist. Additionally, EVS volunteers will complement current staff efforts to expand or improve currently available services to youth. We can cooperate the organizations which had experience in EVS work, who is involved and follow European youth policy, actively participate in Youth in Action programmers.

After the volunteers arrive, they will be given an emergency contact card. On the card will be contact information for key people at Bridge to the Future and local emergency numbers. BF staff will work closely with the volunteers to ensure they are able to safely navigate the city and know where local emergency resources are and how to access them. Plus after arrival of volunteers they are going to be insured in some local insurance agency during their stay in Azerbaijan. Although, the easiest way for volunteers to minimize risk is to adopt a culturally appropriate lifestyle to promote their safety. BF staff will constructively guide volunteers in how to make culturally appropriate adjustments in their appearance and behaviour. Improving and monitoring the safety and security of volunteers will be an ongoing and dynamic process. Any incidents will be monitored, reported and evaluated. Ongoing security trainings will be held if necessary. Azerbaijan has a very reliable and inexpensive mobile phone network. However, should this network fail, or in the case of an emergency, BF will have land-line contact information for the volunteer’s home as well as neighbours. In order to prevent any cultural shock that the volunteer may develop, s/he will be given informative materials regarding the culture from where the host organization is (s/he will be presented with the information on customs, manners, ways of interacting, laws etc). Furthermore, beside the tutor, the new volunteer will have a personal counterpart (with good knowledge of English/other international used language), assisting him/her whenever s/he leaves his home (the companions will help the volunteer accommodate with the new environment-local currency, location of shops, institutions, leisure time locations etc) After this period s/he will still be provided with ongoing support whenever needed. When arriving in the country there will always be an awaiting person helping the volunteer to reach the organization. The volunteer will live in decent housing conditions (clean, watered, heated etc). In order to stay in touch with family and friends, the volunteer will have access to internet and phone. For ensuring work safety, before engaging in activities in the host organization or specific activities the volunteer will be provided training on how to use different devices, accomplish different tasks etc. Moreover, a session will be organized including the new volunteer, a local volunteer and an employee of the host organization, sessions that will have as objective the risk assessment (identifying all possible hazards and preventing them). Decreasing motivation or demoralization will be prevented by motivating volunteers through recognition and feedback. Exclusion feelings experienced by the volunteer will be prevented by organizing teambuilding activities within the organization or a specific team.

Referring to young people with fewer opportunities the services can cover, for instance: formation and supplementary linguistic support for learning the Azerbaijani language, how to prepare a project, fundraising, supplementary training for gaining the fundamental competences in operating the PC and utilisation of Internet, supplementary escorting person (a volunteer). Medical assistance and solicitude will be provided through public system. We don't have special arrangements for people with disability, that can't displace by themselves.

The Bridge to the future is able to host up to 2 EVS volunteers at the same time as well as one group for short-term group project up to 12 volunteers. The organisation is interested in work with volunteers with fewer opportunities such as social, geographical and economic obstacles as well as cultural differences.

Motivation and EVS experience

Bridge to the Future successfully hosted international volunteer summer work camps at local orphanages in Ganja, Azerbaijan in 2008 and 2009, including different volunteers from Europe. Volunteers, project participants, and hosting organizations felt that developing a long-term program would benefit both the orphanages and the community in general. Bridge to the Future promotes active citizenship of young people on the local and international level, as well as European values in its projects. While Azerbaijan's regions have some contact to Americans through the presence of Peace Corps Volunteers, contact to Europeans is generally limited to business people in Baku. Discussions between the partner organizations led to the conclusion that EVS provides a great opportunity for European sending organizations, EVS volunteers, the our hosting organization, project beneficiaries, and the hosting community. At present EVS is neither active nor well known in the regions outside Baku, and many projects outside of the capital city are lacking in European dimension.

The main goal of the projects is to work in partnership with EVS volunteers to provide a multi-cultural educational environment in the institutions serving Ganja's orphan children. Bringing together 2 young Europeans of different national and ethnic backgrounds with local Azerbaijani children will give many of the children their first significant exposure to European cultures. At the same time, the volunteers will gain an understanding of Azerbaijani, and more broadly Eastern, Muslim, and developing country cultures. This creates an opportunity for all project participants to gain a deeper awareness, knowledge, and understanding of each other's national and cultural backgrounds. By working together during the project, volunteers will develop a sense of solidarity and shared European identity, as they will be perceived in the community first and foremost as Europeans. Tolerance and mutual understanding can only be built upon friendship, cooperation, dialogue and shared experience, all of which will develop throughout the duration of the project. An intended long-term outcome is that volunteers gain a deeper sense of understanding and tolerance for individuals from Eastern, Muslim, and developing country backgrounds, which is essential to promoting social harmony in periods of international migration and eastward expansion of the European Union. Few young Europeans have an opportunity to gain such intimate and first-hand exposure to such an environment. The international community will be strengthened further when volunteers return to their respective countries and share their positive experiences in Azerbaijan.

Description of the organisation

Bridge to the Future Youth Union is a national Non-Governmental Organization established in April 2000 by youth initiative. The Union is a legal member of international youth organizations and networks such as Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU) and Human Rights for Education Youth Network, and its members are represented on their boards. Our head office is located in Ganja, from which we coordinate our entire network of over 150 members and more than 60 volunteers from all parts of Azerbaijan involved in our activities. In the past, Union has cooperated with Germany, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Turkey on an international level. Most of our local and international projects have been supported by the Council of Europe, USAID (through Counterpart International and Save the Children), and by other donor organisations. At the same time, Union is closely cooperating with the national Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, especially the Ministry of Youth and Sport and its local department, the Ganja Youth and Sport Head Office. Several times the Union has been awarded for its significant role in development of the youth sector in Azerbaijan and Europe.

Bridge to the Future Youth Union’s mission is to assist in the active participation of Azerbaijan’s youth, establishment of healthy civil society, and youth representation of our country on the international level. Bridge to the Future is made of a board of Chairman- Orkhan Abbasov, Vice-Chairman- Sabina Sadixova, and board members Mushfiq Jafarov, Vusal Verdiyev, Elvin Nabiyev. Bridge to the Future strives to increase youth participation in activities, support disabled people in personal development and acquiring necessary job search skills, develop intellectual abilities and professional skills of youth, involve youth in volunteer work, form civil society through the youth movement, ensure youth participation in environmental actions and tourism, and to develop mutual relationships between Azeri and world youth. In pursuit of the above-mentioned objectives, Union regularly provides local, national and international seminars, conventions, meetings, training courses, consultative services, and work camps.

Bridge to the Future is a non-profit youth organization independent of all political affiliation, run by young people for young people. To be a member of Bridge to the Future, you only have to be aged between 18-35 years and support the mission of the organization.

Nome dell'organizzazione "BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE" Youth Public Union
Via Nizami 66 B
Codice postale AZ 2000
Città Ganja
Country Azerbaijan
Indirizzo e-mail
Sito web
Numero di telefono +994 22 56 80 15
Fax numero +994 22 56 80 15

Last update: 08/02/2012