Let's do EVS!
The European Voluntary Service (Action 2 of the EU’s Youth in Action Programme) enables young people aged 18 to 30 to travel abroad and implement their EVS projects. We are talking about so called non-formal education. It is based on a project that you can implement and let me underline that the variety of EVS-projects is unlimited. You can work with children in southern Spain as well as you can be a fundraiser in one of the non-profit organizations in Brussels. This program has been working in Europe and the whole world for more than 10 years and it has already changed lives of hundreds of young people. Let's have a closer look at it.
Firstly, the sending organization, in this case some accredited Slovak organization and the hosting organization should write an EVS-project. The project’s content should bear the information on the period, in which the project will be implemented, what the main tasks of the volunteer are and all the basic information about the project. Subsequently, one of these organizations must submit the project to the National Agency of the EU’s Youth in Action Programme, which is responsible for approval of submitted EVS-projects.
If the project is approved, the organizations usually find adequate volunteers by themselves. The main goal of these EVS-projects is to support the solidarity and tolerance among young people and enable them to experience non-formal education. The volunteers can gain new skills and develop their professional growth.
If you are chosen as an EVS-volunteer, so called pre-departure meeting organized by your sending organization is ahead of you. At this meeting you will learn everything about the project; you will sign a contract and all the necessary documents.
At this stage you surely ask about how much it will cost. It will, of course, cost nothing. The organizations will pay for the plane ticket to your EVS destination, you will receive a yearlong insurance by AXA, and you will be provided accommodation and food free of charge for the whole year of your voluntary service. Furthermore, you will be provided pocket money/allowance worth about 105 Euros, but this varies depending up on the destination. It sounds great, doesn’t it?
Once you are there, your mentor will welcome you at the airport and they will help you to get integrated. Your mentor will always be with you and you can contact them anytime you need help. Usually your mentor becomes your good friend and they will always provide you with a helping hand. During your project you will be implementing activities specified in the contract and you will also have time for personal growth as well as projects that you can work on. It should be noted that volunteers normally work for 6 hours a day and only on weekdays. Each volunteer has a right for 2 days of holiday a month.
Do you like this idea? During your voluntary service the hosting organization has to prepare a welcome meeting for you, at which they explain to you all the rules and procedures again. Subsequently, you have two meetings during your EVS-project, at which all the volunteers usually meet. This is a great opportunity to meet other volunteers from all around the world, since the volunteers usually work on their EVS-projects individually in different corners of the respective country. When the volunteer returns home, they attend the last meeting with the sending organization and write the final report. Each volunteer receives a Youthpass certificate, which is recognized in the entire Europe. EVS-projects can be implemented outside Europe, too!
You can find all the necessary information on the Internet on the websites of IUVENTA - Slovak Youth Institute www.iuventa.sk. In Slovakia we have a lot of organizations that send their volunteers abroad. At this moment, I am at my EVS-project in Spain and I am proud to give you this first-hand information. I can only recommend EVS experience to everybody from the bottom of my heart. It is a great experience!
I keep my fingers crossed for you, so you will find the right EVS-project!