Supported by: Erasmus+ KA1

Period: 01.05.2016-30-11-2017

Partners: Kansainvälinen vapaaehtoistyö ry [KVT], Finland, Lélektér Foundation [LA], Hungary, A.D.E.L. [Association for Development, Education and Labour], Slovakia, Faal Dernegi [FAAL], Turkey, Fondazione Istituto Morcelliano, Italy, Kinisi Ethelonton Service Civil International Hellas, Greece.

Description: The EVS project Volunteering for Acceptance and Tolerance is built around the idea of volunteering service as a main tool in raising awareness of human rights, tolerance and acceptance of diversity as well as promoting inclusion and intercultural learning.The main venue would be Kumanovo, the largest interethnic and inter-religious city in Macedonia which is located near the border with Serbia positioned on the Balkan route of the refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. The selected volunteers would have the opportunity to develop their personal and professional competences through working on their initiative and communication skills. As an outcome of a sequence of unfortunate events which have happened in Macedonia, as was the terrorist attack in Kumanovo, May 9th, 2015, and the flow of refugees, people have obtained the feeling of fear of foreigners and they started being being reluctant towards empathy and were mislead by rumors of the refugees who are struggling to survive. As a result of this change, general insecurity and conflict occurred, mainly due to the attention given by the media largely to the refugees, and the perceived disparity in living standards has caused tension between the refugees and host community. Once community groups and service providers learn more about this issue, they are keen to do more to include refugees, so it is imperative that any project channels this positive energy through ongoing support and advice.

The other two venues are Athens, Greece and Chiari, Italy, two countries that are facing the same refugee situation as Macedonia.The main objectives of this project are:- to develop empathy and acceptance of the refugees through local community actions and storytelling- raise awareness about the refugee crisis and their reasons to migrate- develop educational activities to be presented in schools about the refugee situation- to provide support to activists working on safe-passage of young refugees, migrants and asylum seekers- to engage the local community in dialogue with the young refugees, migrants and asylum seekers This project is linked with the promotion of European Citizenship through youth work as it is one of the few sustainable ways to promote the ideas of respect for Human Rights and Equal opportunities to different communities. It provides space for the volunteers to gain and exercise competences in active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, social inclusion and solidarity, in particular through increased learning mobility opportunities for young people. The project will allow direct youth participation in shaping their volunteering involvement and being in a position to learn and develop through experience. It promotes cultural diversity and the volunteers will have a chance to communicate with each other and feel part of a larger European context that promotes acceptance of differences. This experience of volunteering in an intercultural environment, learning how to promote acceptance and understanding among different cultures as well as being able to live independently, will be a valuable asset to their life-skills that will be used in promoting the same values in their home countries or wherever they decide to apply it, upon their return.