start in February 2016 until November 2016, 9 months


Mantova, Italy

description of organisation

Cooperativa was founded in 1983 in Castel Goffredo by some families needing a support for their disabled children, with the help of some volunteers. in 30 years we have offered our services to more than 100 people.
The cooperative manages social services, health care and educational services designed primarily to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
Our seat is Centro, a modern structure planned and built according to the European standards to give autonomy and independence to adult disable people. It is conceived as an integral part of the town, with arcades, a shop and a coffee corner giving onto the street. Inside there are different spaces and services, in the form of modular units and accessible by the territory: gym, private practice, computers room, workshops. This Centre can offer customised responses, through both day service and assisted-living facility, to 45-50 people with disability, and has become a reference point for 15-20 people more in need of rehabilitation, or family support, job training and guidance paths towards an independence life, socializing and free time, culture and sport activities, social and educational support, self-help groups. The family association and the disable people themselves actively participated in the design of the new centre and are directly involved in its management.
Our work aim at satisfying not only the users’ primary needs (board and lodging, etc..) but also their need for affection, through relationships based on friendship and confidence among the users and with the educators; we also intend to respond to their social needs through leisure time and integration activities also open to the territory.
Families, volunteers, and professionals in the field of disadvantage, disability and exclusion collaborate at hosting organisation The total staffs consist of 39f 30 e employees and collaborators.

motivation and evs experience

Cooperativa  has been hosting European volunteers for more than10 years. We have welcomed to our centres 11 EVS volunteers, whose presence has been important and positive for both our staff and users, even beyond our expectations. The volunteers have turned to be helpful resources, who worked side by side with our educators, helping in the organisation of social and free-time activities. They supported our user’s active involvement and positive integration in the initiatives promoted by the local community. Their contribution can bring added value to our activities and at the same time We are still in touch with many of them, and two of them have decided to stay in Italy (one is working in our centre as an educator).
tThis experience can give them big benefits of personal and professional growth, and at the same time their contribution can bring added value to our activities. Many of the volunteers we have hosted have increased significant competences, and are still in touch with us, and one is still working in our centre.
For our organisation hosting EVS volunteers has been and still is a chance for opening our minds, exchanging views and enriching each other. Thanks to the presence of European volunteers we intend to boost the range of proposals and incentives offered to both users and operators. Moreover we would like to combine two apparently conflicting concepts, that are, in our opinion, actually deeply intertwined: the theme of “diversity”, considered in its broader meaning as “otherness”, and the theme of “staying together”, that is being able to find out a common field with the other, different from us, against whom we may initially have prejudices or stereotypes.

project environment

Cooperativa  is located in Castel Goffredo, a small town of around 12,000 inhabitants, half way between Mantova and Brescia. It’s not far from the airports of Brescia-Montichiari (23 km) and Verona-Villafranca (42 km) and the Lake of Garda, with its many resort places and theme parks. In less than two hours you can also reach other famous towns, such as Milan or Venice, and the Alps.
The stocking and tights industry has made Castel Goffredo the leader of the so-called hosiery district, reaching 80% of the Italian turnover, 70% of European and 30% of the global production. This has caused in recent years a strong and continuous increase in population and attracted immigrants coming from all over the world. This has resulted in an area with a high percentage of immigration (20%), counting about 40 different ethnicities.
Thanks to more than 60 volunteer associations, the offer of recreational and cultural activities is quite various and lively and almost every month a village fair is organised.
• We will arrange an on arrival meeting for welcoming and first acquaintance, then provide a presentation of local and Italian culture, as well as some pieces of information about the general activities carried out by us. A language training will be offered at an Italian course for foreigners, according to the volunteers’ initial skills.
At the centre volunteers will be gradually given an introduction in order to better understand the new context, get to know staff and users, and carry out their tasks. We assure continuous assistance and availability in case of new demands on their part. To assess the project implementation they will have regular evaluation meetings with the coordinator of the service, who will give them feedbacks about their progress and agree with them about the next goals to pursue. Moreover volunteers can talk about possible personal difficulties with their mentor, who will help them integrate into the local community, provide information about how to orient themselves, useful numbers, suggestions for meeting other young people, socializing, participating in excursions or other local events and entertainment, etc. Contacts with other EVS volunteers will be encouraged.
The reference person in charge of international mobility projects from the coordinating organisation will regularly supervise their service and schedule monthly meetings together with the rest of the coordinated EVS volunteers. These meetings are included in the working timetable and are considered essential for the success of the project.
According to our previous experience, we believe that volunteers can gain great benefits in terms of both personal and professional growth. Learning opportunities can be summarised such as follows:
– language and cultural skills: volunteers can learn or improve their knowledge of Italian and enrich their cultural awareness of the Italian life-style;
– cross competencies: they will develop self-awareness, self-esteem, team working, initiative, problem solving, etc.;
– intercultural experience and European awareness: they will expand these skills mainly thanks to contact and association with other EVS volunteers coming from different countries;
– civic competencies: volunteers will become more sensitive and aware about the issues related to social inclusion of people with different needs and experience direct solidarity towards them;
– technical competencies: volunteers can learn different methodologies for developing the disabled users’ social skills and interaction techniques; therefore they will gain skills that will certainly be useful in any social or educational job in the future.
The reference person of coordinating activities at Alce Nero will facilitate a reflection upon their learning path and competence assessment. She will help them get more aware of their progress and gained skills with a view to the drafting of the YouthPass.
The volunteer’s role consists in working side by side with the and help them pursue the final purpose of the centre: increasing and maintaining the users’ personal autonomies, in view of their development and well-being, and supporting their families. Their contribution is particularly important for our cooperative because it allows us to compare various points of views with young people coming from different cultures.
• The EVS volunteers’ participation can represent an “added value” to the organisation activities for many reasons. First of all they give the chance of establishing new relationships that go beyond an ordinary life situation; thanks to their young age and dynamism, they can certainly stimulate our staff and users’ curiosity; finally their contribution is particularly important for it can be an important opportunity of intercultural exchange: our users and staff can better understand “our” way to face diversity and conceive voluntarism, by comparing them with the major cultural aspects of the countries where foreign volunteers come from.
Volunteers will always be a support to the staff, and when they propose and implement specific activities based on their experience and ability, they will not replace paid personnel, since they are not counted in the ratios of care staff to service users.

• The volunteers will be mostly inserted in the socialising and integration activities for the users, such as the social-recreational activities of the centre, and the participation to the initiatives promoted by the territory. Besides, they are expected to work side by side with the staff members in some daily common activities, such as follows:

MORNING – Welcoming activities,
– Breakfast and introduction to the daily programme (users and educators share the programme foreseen, while drinking tea or coffee)
– Activities (gymnastics, arts and crafts, music and theatre workshops, cooking practice, excursions, activities organised together with the local community, according to a weekly schedule)
AFTERNOON – Table setting for the lunch
– Help during the lunch and tidying up the dining room
– Personal care and relax
– Different personalised activities
According to their interests and education, they will have the opportunity to work in one or more of the following activities:
 Workshops (E.g. painting, wood carving, pottery, theatre, music, cooking, etc.): volunteers will be free to express their creativity and skills, stimulating our users in developing their originality.
 Physical activity (gymnastics, swimming pool): volunteers will participate in the moments dedicated to body expression, aimed to physical rehabilitation and also to the preparation for competitions and tournaments organized in cooperation with other cooperatives for disabled.
 External activities and special events: sometimes EVS volunteers can help our users to participate in a more effectively way in such occasions as walks around the village, outings, or in the so called “special events” -spring day, folk fairs, art competitions, etc.
 Excursions and Summer camps: the volunteers’ participation in the excursions and summer camps has always contributed in making the holiday more enjoyable, created a positive friendly atmosphere, important to build deeper relationships and increase harmony.

After selection, a more detailed programme will be customised according to volunteers’ educational background and skills, respecting their personal interests. After the settling period they can suggest and implement some activities always backed by educators.
There are 35 working hours per week, including team meeting, supervision at Alce Nero and language training. They will have 2 days-off per week (usually Saturday and Sunday). In case of extraordinary activities, schedule and days-off can vary.
Moreover they will have a holiday period counting 2 days per each month of work, which they can choose to spend all together or split in single different days. The details will be discussed in advance together with the person in charge of the project.
hosting organisation is open to host both male and female volunteers of age who prove:
– Motivation and interest towards the project and the issues linked to social integration of disabled people, sensitivity towards their demands and needs;
– Willingness to teamwork and exchange of views with the staff in order to provide an efficient educational intervention;
– Desire to get in the game, initiative, wish to be useful;
– Flexibility and willingness to adapt to possible hitches and the respect for the community rules.
Previous experience in the field of disability would also give us an interesting opportunity for sharing best practices
Selection will be made in cooperation with Alce Nero that will publish information about vacancies, project description, activity dates, volunteer’s profile and tasks, and practical details on the website They will also email our vacancies to all sending organisations they collaborated with in the past and / or volunteers who will have recently contacted them. They will request the compilation of a specific application form (EVS form) that will allow us to get a more clear and precise idea about the candidates and their organisations. Finally we will take into account the professionalism and reliability shown by sending organisations when presenting volunteers or on the basis of past collaborations, as well as the support and training they ensure before departure.
We guarantee that the recruiting criteria will reflect the open orientation of EVS and the spirit of the Programme, ensuring that the selection process is open and transparent, avoids any discrimination based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or political opinion, and is only based on the above mentioned characteristics. After a first screening, interviews via Skype will be carried out.
Our organisation can host up to 2 volunteers at the same time.
• Volunteers can live and work in a reasonably safe and protected environment. Both the centre and the mini-apatments available are safe places in compliance with latest safety standards. The cooperative has a responsible person for health, safety and environment, in charge of preventing possible risks and of informing volunteers about security and safety procedures to follow and about emergency and evacuation.
• In the event of any problem we will use a problem solving approach and conflict management and mediation. Moreover we can count on a co-ordinating organisation ensuring further control and prevention thanks to the monthly group supervision meetings. The reference person of Alce Nero will also maintain regular contact with the coordinators of our centres and mentors, asking for updates on the project development and possibly exchange views about how to solve or manage arisen problems.
• We do not expect to host underage volunteers.

inclusion topics

This organisation is willing to involve volunteers who face situations which make their participation in activities more difficult, from the following categories for different types of project:

  • Social obstacles
  • Cultural differences
  • Economic obstacles

How to apply

becas y voluntariado socios building bridges

Building Bridges members and/or long term unemployed (proved by scanned document) will have preference to this volunteer service.

We will study carefully all application and selected candidates will be invite for Skype interview. The selection of volunteers will take place in the coming weeks.

For the selection of the volunteers we will need CV and motivation letter in English:

Application form sending organisation Building Bridges (signed)

All documents written in English you can attach below with subject: “EVS Turkey Gundem Agenda. YOUR NAME. YOUR SURNAME” to

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