Contact person: EVS Patria
Coordinating organisation: Public organisation Actio Catholica Patria
Host: “Atzalynas” children foster-home: http://www.atzalynovaikai.lt/
Location: Kaunas, Lithuania
Kaunas Children’s Home “Atzalynas” was established in 1947. The residents are: homeless children, children from disadvantaged or convict families, aged from 3 to 20. The main goal of the Children’s Home is to bring up honest, moral and diligent children and to prepare them for independent life. To organize everyday life in a way that physical, social, cultural and emotional needs of residents would be satisfied as much as possible.
Children are divided into groups, so called “families”. Brothers and sisters of different age live together in one family. Every family has its own appartment with sleeping, dinning and TV rooms, WC and hall.
46 children have guardians. Children visit their guardians during weekends and holidays.
59 children attend schools: 50 go to high school, 7 study at week-sighted school and 1 studies at manual training school.
Government, local institutions, private organizations, persons and governmental programs finance the home.
The children are placed to Atzalynas according to the decree from director of Kaunas municipality administration, of if they are appointed care takers, or as a ruling from the court, or if given permanent care. If a child is appointed temporary care he/she lives in Atzalynas until the situation in the family gets better. Then she/she can come back home. If, on the other hand, the situation in the family is still bad, the court decides to give the child permanent care and he/she lives in Atzalynas until 18 years old, or adoption. So Atzalynas is not a care centre or school. For children who are here it is a temporary or permanent home.
A few Lithuanian volunteers from Lithuania are working in Atzalynas at all times. Students from universities have their practice here too.
Volunteers are invited to join two “families”: one is consisted of children pre-school age (4-7 years old), another one is teenagers boys’ group. It is important to note that children might have behavioral, emotional and psychological difficulties which influence normal communication and relationship with people, especially adults. It is important for the volunteers to be aware that it takes time to get trust of the kids and not to expect direct relationship. The general role of the volunteer would be bringing new ideas and “a fresh wind” into the children’s home activities, participating, teaching young people and learning new things by doing it. The main tasks of EVS volunteers will be participation in daily activities, routine, helping the staff to organize workshops, exhibitions, excursions, stimulating the young people to be more active in the local community. By organizing/helping to organize various events volunteers will acquire valuable orgnaizational skills. Communication in English and later in Lithuanian will contribute to their lingual skills. Taking part in various clubs, excursions will help them know the Lithuanian culture, history, traditions. This should foster the volunteer’s intercultural learning. Volunteer activities should provide the following benefits to the organization and local community: – New ideas; – Possibility for the children to learn about different cultures without actually traveling; – Sharing of experience between the staff, the children and the volunteer; – Increasing interest in volunteerism in the local community; – Giving an international aspect to the organization; – Increasing interest of local young people to become more active – Developing dialog among young people of different nationalities and cultures.
This project is really challenging because of kids’ background and the fact that there live many kids having similar problems and pain. It is not visible at the first sight, but more in defensive and destructive behavior in general. It is important that volunteer would be communicative and persistent, able to keep emotional welfare within him/herself. Working in the “family” means that activities would not be “formal” and structured, this institution is home for those kids so it is important that volunteers would keep it as homey as possible yet attracting the kids to be occupied and to carry out constructive leisure time. The role of the volunteer should be more like big brother or sister, then the volunteer as such.
Please send us (Milda – firstname.lastname@example.org ) your CV until 21st April and we will provide the questionnaire and further information. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Themes: Social exclusion (in general), Measures against delinquency
Targets: Youth and children