HYPHEN FOR INCLUSION
1st February 2021 – 31st January 2022
Location : Marche-en-Famenne – Belgium
Looking for one volunteer
Due to Covid-19 crisis, dates are subject to modifications.
We have participated in the European Commission’s volunteering program (Erasmus+ and now European Solidarity Corps “ESC”) both as sending and hosting organisation since 1997. We were accredited as coordinating organisation in 2007.
CBB is also member of the ALLIANCE of European Voluntary Service Organisations.
The hosting and support organizationCOMPAGNONS BATISSEURS
The Association of Compagnons Bâtisseurs, aka CBB, is a non-profit, non-political Youth Organization recognised by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation of Belgium. The organization proposes different kinds of activities, mainly based on volunteering and non-formal education: local and international work-camps, youth exchanges, medium and long term voluntary services, weekend workcamps including leisure time activities for and with people with mental disabilities.
All these activities would not be possible without a network of 327 members, 250 international volunteers during the summer, a team of 12 employees and 3 ESC long term volunteers supporting us at the office. As we are a Youth Organization, most of our public is aged between 16 and 25 years, even if there is not upper age limit to integrate our groups of volunteers. Within our members, one person out of ten has a mental disability.
As mentioned before, CBB develops different kinds of actions mainly focused on group dynamics. Through these actions the association also tries to promote inclusion of people with fewer opportunities and people with learning difficulties or disabilities.
Our ESC volunteer will be actively involved in our activities, from the preparation to the evaluation, and their role will mainly be to facilitate, together with CBB leaders and other CBB volunteers, the participation of people with fewer opportunities or disabilities.
The volunteer will be particularly involved in three CBB actions:
- The program “Volunteering, leisure time and disability”;
- Organization and animation of projects as workcamps, youth exchanges or thematic workshops whose aim is the integration of youngsters with less opportunities;
- CBB training for young leaders of summer camps.
The program “Volunteering, leisure time and disability” proposed by CBB aims to develop among young people a better awareness about disability as well as to favor the participation of people in situation of mental disability in CBB projects. Indeed, we think that spending leisure time together in a mixed group increases awareness and decreases barriers between people.
In a volunteering, leisure time and disability activity, the ESC volunteer will be supervised by a staff member of CBB, and will be accompanied by other people: volunteers and people with mental disability mixed together.
Though the European volunteer is accompanied by other local volunteers in most of the activities, they have a more important role. Indeed, together with the staff members, the ESC volunteer will be in charge of the preparation, animation and evaluation of residential week-ends, summer camps and evening activities for groups of people with mental disability. The tasks will be varied and can be organised according to the skills, interests and abilities of the young volunteer.
Each year, CBB organizes around 20 residential week-ends of such kind. We also organize 2 camps of 10 days in Belgium and 2 or 3 camps abroad in which the ESC volunteer can take part. Around 20 persons participate in each of these projects; more than half of them are in situation of mental disability (mostly learning difficulties and Down syndrome).
Every two months, Friday evening cine-club and monthly table games evenings are also usual activities developed within the program “Volunteering, leisure time and disability”.
Below an example of tasks concerning the organization of a week-end of activity:
- Before the week-end: with a CBB staff member, search for an accommodation, organize the logistics, plan the menus, plan cultural and sports activities as well as touristic visits…
- During the week-end: together with a CBB staff member and local volunteers (usually 1/3 of the group), welcome the group of participants, provide individual support to the people with disability (this may include sanitary support), facilitate the group dynamic, accompany during a cultural visit, a group game or any visits organized for the weekend… Depending on the season, the activities planned can be: go to a Christmas market, go to a bowling alley, to the swimming pool, to a recreational park, spend the weekend on a barge, attend to a middle-age festival, and many other things… This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know new places all around Belgium as every weekend is organized in a different place and offers different leisure time and cultural activities!
- After the week-end: after two days off, evaluate the activity with the CBB staff, write articles and post news on the organization’s social media accounts about the week-end.
Our ESC volunteer will also take part in other projects as workcamps and youth exchanges whose aim is to foster the inclusion of youngsters who are facing difficulties.
They will be part of the CBB animators’ team who will organize a training cycle for summer camps leaders.
With CBB staff members the volunteer will be in charge of the good implementation of the training and they will have the opportunity of taking initiatives, organizing workshops and bringing new ideas. Being involved in this training will enable our volunteer to be made aware of the topic of group management, techniques of animation, organization of activities.
In this ESC project, we really wish the volunteer to develop a personal initiative so any idea and proposal of new activity is welcome!
The house - Maison des volontaires
Accommodation: In Marche-en-Famenne the volunteer will live at “CBB Volunteers’ house”, a comfortable house near to the town centre. They will have their own room and will share the common spaces with other 7 ESC volunteers involved in other ESC projects in Marche-en-Famenne. Each volunteer has got their own bedroom.
The city - Marche-en-famenne
CBB office is located in Marche-en-Famenne, a 17 000 inhabitants town of the province of the Belgian Luxembourg. This unique situation will allow the volunteer to share the semi-rural life style of the area, but also to meet young people coming from different realities and horizons.
During their ESC activity, the volunteer will live and mostly work in Marche-en-Famenne (except during the weekends, where the activities take place out of Marche-en-Famenne). The town offers all modern facilities (shops, supermarkets, sport center, cinema….).
Even if it is not far away from the biggest Belgian cities (57 km from Liège, 106 km from Brussels, 47 km from Namur) and well connected by train, Marche-en-Famenne can sometimes look remote and very quiet.
The volunteer will be in contact with other ESC volunteers being hosted in other projects in the municipality.
Squeezed between the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France, Belgium is one of Europe’s tiddlers.
The north is flat, the south dominated by the picturesque Ardennes and the 65km North Sea coastline monopolized by resorts, except for a few patches of windswept dunes. The 4 seasons are well divided, cold and white winter and warm and sunny summer… But be ready to grey sky at least haf part of the year.
But the belgian population are usually warm. A lot of cultural and free EVENT in the street happen during the year, which brings your journey in this little country funny and ressourcefull.
This project will be taking part in the south of the country which is french speaking. Be therefore ready to learn and speak french .
- Specialities : FRIES and BEERS and FESTIVALS
- AREA: 30,518 sq km
- POPULATION: 11.420.163 million
- CAPITAL: Brussels (pop: 1.191.604)
- REGIONS: Flanders (North), Wallonia (South), Brussels – Capital
- COMMUNITIES: Flemish, French and German speaking community
- LANGUAGE: Dutch (±59%), French (±37%) and German (±1%)
- CURRENCY: Euro
Working hours will be flexible and involve participation in evening events, as well as in school holidays and weekends. 5 days per week will be worked on average. Days off will compensate the extra shift hours if necessary to keep an average of 38 hours a week (French lesson included). The volunteer will generally have two consecutive free days per week except for special events and has the right to two days of holiday per month.
An example of the usual schedule for a volunteer involved in the “Volunteering, leisure time and disability”: on average every two weeks, there will be three days of work at the office for the preparation and evaluation of the activities and residential leisure time during the weekend. On the second week, the volunteer will be 4 to 5 days at the office and might be working an evening for either “cine-club” or boarding games evening.
All participants in cross-border activities are covered, throughout the activity period, by the European Solidarity Corps insurance plan set up by the European Commission. This coverage is only complementary to the mandatory coverage of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which must be obtained prior to departure.
In certain cases, when national rules deprive participants from coverage under EHIC for the duration of the placement, CIGNA will provide full coverage.
Be aware that this insurance doesn’t provide cover for loss or theft, so please insure your own cover if you feel it is needed.
OLS + French lesson: an online language course is provided as part of the project support from the Commission allocated on the basis of a level test to complete before the activity starts. The volunteer is also encouraged to join free French lessons given in the municipality or around.
The volunteer will receive a budget and will take care of the meals by her/himself.
Participation in the European Solidarity Corps is free of charge for the participant, except for exceptional contribution to travel costs. The volunteer will receive free board and lodging during the whole activity. In addition, she/he will receive a small allowance (pocket money) for personal expenses throughout the duration of the activity, including holidays.
Collective activities with other ESC volunteers
The ESC activity within CBB, together with 7 other ESC activities organized in Marche-en-Famenne, participate to the aims of increasing European awareness among the local community in Marche-en-Famenne and surroundings, as well as enhancing a closer networking between the local non-profit services. For this reason, some activities might be run with other ESC volunteers involved in other local organizations (Youth house, CBB, AMO,…).
The volunteers are encouraged to work together especially during specific youth events organized once a year in Marche-en-Famenne: Rock festival, youth services, open day…
The volunteers can help to prepare and follow-up these events. In some occasions, they can hold an information stand presenting the ESC program and youth exchange opportunities.
The volunteers are encouraged to take any initiative that enhance such kind of collaboration and make their presence visible in the community.
Profile of the volunteer
- Age requirement to take part in ESC program: 18-30 years old
- Prior to departure, the volunteer should be in contact with a support (sending) organization in order to receive information and preparation. Look up for a support organization in your region via this link: https://europa.eu/youth/volunteering/organisations_en
- Our project is open to anybody motivated by volunteering and who wishes to be involved in our organization and working in the field of inclusion, regardless of their nationality, religion, believes, diploma, professional experience.
- We expect the volunteer to:
- Be able to communicate in French at a reasonable level as they will share a lot of time with people with mental disability who do not know any other language;
- Be highly motivated to work for a better social participation and inclusion of people with disability and fewer opportunities;
- Enjoy group life and to be ready to participate in several residential week-ends and camps in company of lots of people;
- Appreciate office and computer work, as several tasks in this project also concern the preparation and the evaluation of the activities which are done at the office.
If you are reading this it means that you’ve heard about Compagnons Bâtisseurs Belgique already. In case I’m wrong, go google it now- something worth knowing !
When I was accepted to start my one year EVS (ESC) project in Marche en Famenne in October 2018, I’ve received my project description. One rough literature giving me facts like:
You’ll be living in a small town of the southern-French-speaking part of Belgium. You will stay with 6 housemates in two-storey house. You’ll be organizing leisure time activities and residential week-ends for and with disabled people. You’ll be animating work camps and youth exchanges for youngsters with less opportunities. You’ll be managing some of the paperwork and computer work in the office, etc..
No one said how much fun it will be to dance with two best friends with Down syndrome. With which passion the guy without motor skills in half of his body plays the ukulele. No one said either that you’ll have to clean your disgusting dirty fridge yourself. No one mentioned how hard it is to miss your best friends birthday or graduation party. Nor that you’ll be the one saying ‘butt’ instead of ‘neck’ in your non-mother tongue (NOT KNOWING YOU SAID IT). That you’ll make an omelette in a cooking ladle just because your housemate was wondering if it was possible. No one tells you how annoying it is to explain million times to a person with mental disability not to touch anything in the museum. Or that maybe worms will hatch in your compost during hot summer. No one said that you’ll find new family and have a friend from every continent (except Antarctica ?) at the end of the project. Or that you’ll develop sugar addiction because of the amazing taste of Belgium chocolate. You couldn’t know how honest and devoting the hug from a person with Down syndrome is. Or how significant mom’s soup can be when you’re sick. No one warn you how long you’ll need to adjust on having rainy day every time you planned to spend a day out -because that’s how Belgium works. No one prepared you for countless times of being the only person at the table not understanding the joke. But neither for the sense of pride you’ll feel when you become capable of understanding someone with speech defect on the language you didn’t speak few months earlier.
I will add one advice for you regarding your future housemates. No, don’t let them cut your hair, hairdresser is expensive but worth it. And yes, you should definitely try super strong and awful alcohol whose name you can’t pronounce from their countries. That’s how a good story starts.
There are tons of things you won’t know until you try. Some of them will be delightful and some terrifying. Every experience is unique and depends on you. So go, apply on that project you cast an eye on and make it your perfect year.
Tamara Ivanić (25, Serbia)
I’m Michele, I’m 35 years old and I come from Italy but it is quite 5 years that I live in Belgium.
I work for CBB for quite 4 years starting to make coffee, but italian coffee is too strong so now I make pasta for all. Ok I’m kidding. At CBB (I don’t spend time to explain who are CBB. You can explore our super nice website) I’m animator and coordinator of the local projects that we organise in Belgium as International Workcamps, Volunteering Week-ends, Camp Leader training, etc… but my story starts… A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY…
Stardate April 2015.
It was a long time that I was looking for a job. I thought that I was wasting my time, I was loosing my hopes and my energies when suddenly I discover the Erasmus + program and the EVS (now is called CES). And why not ? I really needed a change, an earthquake in my life. It was my last year to participate so I started to send application everywhere. The beginning wasn’t so encouraging because I didn’t received many answers and they weren’t good. I was thinking maybe that I’m too old and organisations were looking for people younger than me but… one day CBB and Belgium knocked at my door, not physically but…
The person choosed for their project declined at the last moment so they needed someone available to come in Belgium soon. They was interested in my profile, I was interested in their project and so my story with CBB began.
But before I had to say goodbye to my mom.
Actually I completely forgot to say to my mom that I was looking for a one-year project abroad and so the day when I was accepted the hardest thing was to say: “Hey mom how are you? Next month I will go to Belgium for one year”.
After one week of crying we went together to buy a big suitcase.
My year of volunteering was a really nice experience.
My project started in october of 2015 and it consisted in helping CBB with their activities with mental disable people. So for one year I had the opportunity to discover Belgium with them and with other volunteers during week-end trips. And now organising activities with disable people is still a part of my job.
During the week I look for activities to do together, planned visites, prepared the menus, did some administrative tasks… and the week-end I was on the road. From Friday evening, when we met with disable people and volunteers, until Sunday afternoon we stayed together, we prepared the meals together, we helped them to prepare their beds and arrange their stuff, we played games (always UNO), we had karaoke or disco night, we made activities together. For exemple I remember that one time we slept on a boat and one time on a old train, we went to the beach, medieval festivals, zoo, natural parks, brasseries to drink… coca cola. I have a lot of very nice memories.
We organised also a week trip in Portugal during the summer and I was in charge to make the planning. Quel voyage !!!
I was also included in many other activities because CBB make a lot of things!
During my year I lived in Marche en Famenne, a semi rural village in the french speaking part of Belgium, and I a shared a house before with a belgian lady that spoke only french and me, at the beginnig, only english so we had dinner with me, her and google translate. After some months I shared the volunteer’s house of CBB with 4 others european volunteers lived in Marche en Famenne. A really nice experience also because it was the first time that I lived with so much people.
After my year I was so lucky that CBB was looking for someone and they propose to me a job. So here I’m.
My life changed completly and it was by chance.
To conclude the only advice I want to give to you is to keep open mind, be curious and don’t hesitate to ask.
That’s all folks.
Michele Curto (35, Italy)
How to apply ?
Deadline: 22th April at 11:59 p.m. (Brussels time).
1. In the frame of the new program of the European Commission, the European Solidarity Corps, you first need to create a profile on the new data base: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en (“JOIN THE CORPS”).
2. Find the project and click on “apply” > HERE – To apply
3. Answer the questionnaire below (NB: you will be asked to attach a CV at the end of the form)
4. (optional) if you’re feeling creative, please feel free to send us any addtional material related to your application: email@example.com
The application through the ESC portal and fulfilling the form are compulsory for us to take your application into consideration.
In the days following the 22th April, the pre-selected volunteers will be contacted for a Skype interview.
Please answer the questionnaire in FRENCH or in ENGLISH only