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Introduction to our EVS volunteers 2017-2018

In this article, we will introduce you to our 2017/18 European Voluntary Service volunteers who began their projects here with us in Liege on the 2nd of October, and explain a little more about how they prepared for their projects.

What is the adapted EVS?

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is one of the actions economically supported by the European Commission in the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. It offers the opportunity to people aged between 18 and 30 to complete a volunteering project in a foreign country.
VIEWS International pioneered the adapted EVS programme for visually impaired people in 2007 and have grown the project to host numerous volunteers from a range of countries since then. The adapted EVS programme ensures the inclusion of considerations like mobility sessions, daily living support and adapted language lessons for their visually impaired volunteers.

What is the APV?

As part of the adapted EVS programme, the volunteers are invited to an Advanced Planning Visit (APV) before the official start of their projects. This gives the volunteers the chance to familiarise themselves with their accommodation and workplaces, as well as meeting the volunteers who will support them throughout the programme.

This year VIEWS hosted two APV’s for the three volunteers as the three were not able to all attend at the same time. Elisa from Italy and Corto from France first visited between 13 and 15 September, followed by Elin from the UK who visited from 25 to 27 September.

During their APV’s the three volunteers met with their mentors, with their language tutors and mobility instructors, and with the organisations they would be working for.

Following their APV’s the volunteers arrived in Liege on the 2nd of October and commenced two weeks of initial induction, which included lots of mobility sessions and French lessons, before starting their volunteering projects with the organisations on the 16th of October.

Who are our EVS volunteers?

Elin from Wales, UK, is 22 years old and is blind. She has studied English Literature in University and is interested in organising events and communication. During her stay in Belgium she will volunteer at the VIEWS office, managing the newsletter and website and helping with awareness raising events, as well as volunteering at La Baraka, a youth centre for refugees in Liege. Elin also arrives in Belgium accompanied by her guide dog, Jazzy who has been with Elin for almost three years. You can follow Elin’s blog, www.seemyway.org to read her posts about her EVS experience.

Corto from Toulouse, France, is 29 years old and partially sighted. He has studied history in university and has previously studied abroad in the UK and participated in a project helping develop the local area in Sinegal.. While he is in Belgium he will volunteer at IRHOV, the school for blind and deaf children in Liege, supporting the students in their lessons and assisting with mobility and braille sessions. Corto is writing about his EVS experience and hopes to produce a book at the end of his project.

Elisa, from Polermo, Italy, is also 29 years old and is partially sighted. She has previously studied languages at university and at home she is a languages teacher. Her project involves volunteering for two organisations; the Coordination Sociocultural de St Marguerite writing articles for the bi-monthly newspaper, assisting with activities and supporting students in French lessons, and at Orchid de Rose helping teach French to adult immigrants

Unfortunately Elisa decided to leave the EVS Programme at the beginning of November due to personal reasons. We hope Corto and Elin have an enjoyable and successful time in Belgium and wish Elisa all the best for her future.