What is Evs?
The European Voluntary Service (Evs) is one of the actions economically supported by the European Commission in the framework of the Erasmus Plus programme. It gives the opportunity to people between 18 and 30 years of age to spend some time in one of the foreign countries participating in the programme.
The voluntary service is unpaid and volunteers are required to work between 26 and 30 hours per week. They get the chance to develop an individual project within a hosting organization, that can be chosen from the organizations database.
VIEWS International – EVS and adapted EVS
In 2005, Loredana and Anca from Romania did a 6-month EVS in Belgium. In 2006 Verity from England also spent a month in Belgium. The experiences of these pioneers were essential, as they enabled us to assess new ways to make EVS truly accessible to visually impaired people.
In 2006, Aliénor from France did a 2-month EVS and helped Vicky to organize a youth exchange in Birmingham, just as Anca and Lori had done in Belgium the year before.
Since 2007, Belgium has organised simultaneous EVS in Liège, with the help of a local network of hosting associations. Vanessa from Italy, and Hanna and Aleksandra from Poland were the first to benefit from the new adaptations, which helped them more than the services put in place by the European Commission (special monitoring, just to name one). The adaptations included:
- mobility sessions;
- “daily living skills” sessions;
- adapted timetables;
- adapted apartment;
- adapted workplace;
- adapted French classes.
In the same year, three more volunteers benefited from all these services: Magda from Poland, Aleksandra from Slovenia and Nelly from Latvia, who did a 4-month EVS.
In 2008, Hojni and Ana Maria from Romania, and Bulat from Russia came to help some Belgian associations, followed by Hajnalka from Romania, Anna Rita from Italy, Ola from Poland, Costi from Romania, Aleksandra from Poland, Fassou from France and Boyan from Bulgaria.
In 2010/2011 Esmeralda, a sighted girl from Belgium did her EVS in Ukraine. Though problems with her hosting organization forced her to leave earlier than planned, she loved her time in the small town of Sumy and made some amazing memories with the local community.
In the same period, one of our Spanish partners spent some weeks in Liège, to observe how we organize adapted EVS. Since 2011, the same kind of EVS has been available both in Murcia and Granada, and five Belgian volunteers have profited from it so far. Aurelie went to Granada between February and July 2011, whilst the other four went to Murcia: Pascal (January-August 2011), Arnaud (October 2011-June 2011), Theo (February-August 2015) and Wassim (February-August 2016).
Moreover, VIEWS Italia cooperated with the adapted museum Omero, in Ancona and hosted Thomas and Alessia, from Belgium for a one year project.
In 2012,VIEWS International hosted six volunteers
who worked in varrious projects in Belgium. Patricia from Spain, Gellert from Romania and Fabio from Italy started their projects in January and stayed for six months. Anna-Christina from Spain, Kasia from Poland and Kaisu from Finland arrived the first of October and experienced their EVS projects in Belgium for nine months.
One year later, in 2013, VI welcomed Emoke from Romania, Agnes from Germany and Gala from Bulgaria. The three girls also stayed in Belgium for nine months. While Agnes worked in the IRHOV School, Gala worked in our executive office,. As part of her work, she also wrote the First VIEWS International EVS Guide which is very useful and recommendable for people, who decided to do an adapted EVS with VIEWS.
Although Emoke worked for Orchidée Rose and the Coordination Socio – Culturelle Saint-Marguerite she also started working for VIEWS and stayed in Belgium after her project. She is responsible for teaching French in adapted French lessons organized for the new volunteers.
Her first students were Badia from Italy, Max from Germany and Adrian from Spain, three young volunteers who arrived in October/November 2014 for their EVS. Whilst Badia worked at IRHOV, a school for Blind and partially sighted people in Liège, Adrian did his project at Santé Nord-Sud. The third volunteer, Max, worked in VIEWS’ office, managing the website and the newsletter and helping Anca with ongoing projects.
In 2015, unlike the rare exception of the previous year, the volunteers were all female: Magda from Poland, Rosaria from Italy and Selma from Turkey. Rosaria worked for VIEWS and organized some weekly awareness-raising events with another association called La Baraka, whilst Magda worked at at IRHOV (the blind school). Finally, Selma attended two French courses for immigrants, helping students when they didn’t understand something and organizing some activities after classes. Besides, she helped a local association to organize activities for the community, and made some interviews for their local newspaper.
Who can participate?
Any young people aged between 18 and 30 years old. There are two kinds of EVS:
- short term evs (from 3 weeks to 2 months)
- long term EVS (between two months and 12 months)
To start an evs project
To setup an evs, it is necessary to have at least:
- a sending association that follows you before leaving and helps you to write your cv and motivation letter as well as guides you looking for a hosting association and a project related to your wishes
- a hosting association that hosts you
How much does it cost?
Participants are refounded 90% of their travel costs and receive a monthly allowance as pocket money,(which is different from Country to Country and is around 110 €), and a monthly allowance foor food (around 180 / 200 €) amount established by the hosting organisation.
And if I don’t know the language?
Your sending association receives a subsidy from the European Commission so that you can attend language lessons before your departure; during your EVS, you have the possibility to benefit from informal language lessons within your hosting association itself or in cooperation with other local institutions.
Will I be alone?
No! There are group EVS where you can share with other european volunteers your experience!
Every volunteer is followed by a mentor, who meets regularly volunteers to check any problems they may have during their projects.
What do I need to do to take part?
If you want to take part to an EVS project you need to contact a sending association in your own Country, look for a hosting association in the foreign Country where you would like to go and choose the project you would like to develop as soon as possible.
Hosting organizations for vision impaired EVS candidates
Hosting placements for interested vision impaired EVS candidates
Below you will find a list with organizations who have already hosted vision impaired EVS candidates. Some of them have long lasting experiences in hosting this target group and have made special adaptations, which are considering the needs of visually handicapped persons. Others are new to this field and are still in the learning-by-doing process.
Ayuntamiento de Murcia Concejalia de juventud y empleo
this organization is located in Spain and has already hosted several vision impaired volunteers. Find more information about the activities of the volunteers here
Deutscher Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband
This German organization is located in Berlin the capital of Germany. Sofar this organization hosted one vision impaired volunteer and is very eager to welcome new interested candidates. Find information about the EVS-project here
Ayuntamiento de Ávila, Concejalía de Juventud, Espacio Joven Municipal Alberto Pindado
This organization is situated in Avila Spain. Find more about its activities for the volunteers here
Latasserultek Szabadidos Sportegyesulete
This organization is situated in Budapest Hungary. Several members of the organization are vision impaired themselves. Find Here their project description.