Zavod za usposabljanje Janeza Levca (ZUJL) - group EVS project DESCRIPTION OF THE INSTITUTION: Zavod za usposabljanje Janeza Levca (ZUJL) is a public institution specialised in education of children and youngsters with mental disability. ZUJL it is the biggest institution in Slovenia dealing with youngsters and children with mental disability. In the frame of ZUJL are two special schools, youth home, workshop unit - bookbinding, mobile teachers unit. In our institution are working more than 150 special teachers, social workers, psychologists, educators and support stuff. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES: We are working with children and youngsters with mental disability or/and with learning or behavioural problems. These youngsters and children are often pushed on the edge of active social life. We are experts for special education. Besides educating (our main task) we are trying to organise activities with which we want to place these children and youngsters in the focus, the centre of society. Since three years we organise a festival and other activities under the name “igraj se z mano – play with me”. The Festival “igraj se z mano – play with me” will take place in the center of Ljubljana (Prešernov Trg) from 25th till 28th May. More info and videos from the Festival you can laso find at http://www.igrajsezmano.eu/stran/?m=15 or http://www.youtube.com/user/igrajsezmano so that you can get an impression what the Festival is about. The festival promotes an inclusive culture and socialising among all children from different educational, cultural and social backgrounds through playing and spending the time together involved in different free time activities from culture to sport. We promote “playing” as a pedagogic tool. 1. TASKS FOR THE VOLUNTEERS: - the volunteers will be encouraged to develop their own ideas for workshops, performances, sport games and other free time activities for children and youngsters (children and youngsters who participate at the festival come from regular and special schools) - they will be encouraged to present their own country through the workshops (in order to be able to develop all these activities we will be in close contact with the selected volunteers already before the activity starts) - they will be encouraged to realise these workshops, performances and games at the festival - they will help their colleagues, or other volunteers with the workshops -they will help with the organisation of the festival (preparation of material for the workshops, preparation of the setting, the stage) 2. METHODS OF WORKING - the volunteers will work in groups, we will encourage team-work, but at the same time they will have the opportunity to develop their ideas individually. - they participate closely with our educators and with the mentors - they will have the opportunity always to turn for help and advise to the mentor 3. WORKING LOCATION The working location will be mainly Zavod –Dom, during the festival also the city center. Before the volunteer will go to a certain location we will give him/her all the necessary information. We will ensure that he/she will have all the material they need for their work at their disposal. DURATION OF THE EVS ACTIVITY: The Group EVS Activity will start on the 18th May and last until 4th of June (20 days). We will host up to 15 EVS volunteers. THE ENVIROMENT WHERE THE EVS WILL TAKE PLACE: The activities will take place in Slovenian capital city Ljubljana. Ljubljana is also according to its geographical position central in our country. Slovenia has 2 Million inhabitants and Ljubljana 300.000. Ljubljana has a vivid cultural life and many other possibilities on how to spend free time, from movies to theatre, galleries and festivals. There are also a lot of sport centres, in warmer months it is also nice to go to park Tivoli or make a hike onto the near hill Rožnik or Ljubljana castle. A lot of cultural events, apart of some concerts are not expensive at all (in warmer months some concerts, theatre and movies happen also outside…). In Ljubljana there is also the University and a lot of students are staying here during the year. Also a lot of international exchanges happen in Ljubljana. EVS volunteer will have several possibilities to get in touch with students from all over the world and to spend their free time with new friends. Most of the volunteers who we are working with are students and they will be encouraged to take care for the EVS volunteer concerning his/hers social contacts. There is a lot of student events (Škisova tržnica, Cvičkarija and other time specific events), which are mostly for free and they offer a great opportunity how to spend free evenings and get to know new friends. The city has old city part where one can find several bars, cafes and smaller shops. On a hill just above the old city part there is a medieval castle. The city has vey good transport connections with larger cities abroad; it is also not so expensive to use the opportunity of a day trip with the train to Trieste, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Budapest or Bratislava. Ljubljana has also very well developed infrastructure of local transport, but there are also a lot of bike-roads. The volunteer will have a bike to his/her disposal. But other possibility is also to rent a bike. From Ljubljana you can easily visit also other parts of Slovenia. In one hour by car / three by train one can be at the seaside, or one can go to Maribor, second biggest city in Slovenia. ACCOMODATION: The volunteers will be situated at the location of ZUJL-Dom (youth home). They will be accommodated in 4 bed-rooms, will share a bathroom, living-room and kitchen with other volunteers. In the youth home we have also a night watch. Slovenia is in general very safe country with a low degree of criminal. The location of the youth home is close to the city centre which is in a walking distance. Freshly cooked healthy food will be provided by our cooks. We have a kitchen in which children and youngsters living in the youth home, as well as also all the stuff and volunteer can eat their daily meals. There is breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it is also taken care for an afternoon snack. The volunteers will be given also an amount of money to buy his own food, which he/she can also prepare in the common kitchen. ADITIONAL INFORMATION: The volunteers will have organised lessons of Slovenian language as well as also lessons for the communicating language if necessary. The communication language will be English. During the individual EVS activity there will be more mentors responsible for the volunteers. The cooperation between the mentor and the volunteer will be very intense. With the programmes and activities we are promoting equal opportunities for all children and youngsters, a positive acceptance of diversity, without differing between physical, psychical, national, ethnical, religious or cultural differences. We can find a lot of similarities between our inclusion strategies and the aims of YiA programme. We encourage solidarity and understanding among youngsters with the aim to strengthen social cohesion. At this point we have to underline, that impatience and lack of tolerance often comes from both sides, on one hand from the side of the society and on the other hand also from our target population. We believe that this intolerance is due to frustration which comes from the lack of information, knowledge and experiences. We want to strengthen the understanding among young people, we are following the idea, that knowledge is the only way towards greater degree of tolerance. We are implementing new approaches and methods of working (learning through games and playing, we consider “play” as a pedagogical process, learning through working and experiencing things…). We see a great potential in international cooperation and international projects. In the past international projects had a very positive impact on youngsters who were participating in the projects, but also on others. With different activities we want to strengthen the positive awareness of cultural differences, through offering information we want to strengthen the respect of youngsters towards other cultures. We want to encourage youngsters to participate actively in the society, to give them opportunity that they feel accepted and important. We also support different mechanisms and systems which are dealing with the active participation of young people in the society through different cooperation agreements and partnerships. We also want to evoke and strengthen the awareness of the European citizenship and citizenship in general through the EVS projects. SELECTION PROCESS: The volunteers we are looking for have to be open-minded and have to have the passion to work with children and youngsters. They are expected to take the role of a volunteer seriously and responsible. They have to be willing to learn and also to shear their knowledge and experiences with others. It is not a condition that they have experiences in working with children and youngsters. The volunteer sould be able to communicate in English. We will consider all potential volunteers equally without prejudice related to nationality, ethnic group, religion, sex, sexual orientation, political orientation or social background and we will also accept volunteers with fewer opportunities in order to strengthen the intercultural dialogue, encourage acceptance and tolerance among youngsters.