There are lots of expat and refugee families nowadays in the Netherlands. Most of the kids from such families either go to international schools (in case of expat families) or are having difficulties with learning Dutch. Kids, who do not speak Dutch but live in the Netherlands for years, often feel uncomfortable and not confident out of their international communities, facing difficulties on their way of socialisation. All of these brings to number of complexes while communicating with Dutch speaking kids.
The initiative youngsters from Bright Future volunteer for a group of non-Dutch speaking children, using non-formal methodology and teaching them Dutch through various educational and fun activities, giving them space to think out of box, improve creativity and stand closer to Dutch society and language.
This project actively promote social inclusion, solidarity as a value and idea of volunteering in the neighbourhood.
During the European Youth Week "Nederlands voor Niet-Nederlanders" Solidarity Project won the EU Solidarity Awards and became the “Best Solidarity Project 2021” in the Netherlands.
At the end of the project the volunteers receive EU Youthpass certificates, which they can attach to their CV, while applying for a job in the Netherlands and abroad.
Cooperation: Buurtkamer Keizer Karelpark (KKP)
"AMSTELVEENS NIEUWSBLAD" and "MIJN AMSTELVEEN" reported on our project to win the EU Awards
Dutch newspaper "AMSTELVEENS NIEUWSBLAD" reported on our Solidarity Projects to be started in Amstelveen.
Netherlands Diary reported about the start of the project.
Report about our EU Solidarity projects, being implemented in the Netherlands.
In cooperation with De Bibliotheek Amstelland, our Summer Party workshop's theatre performance "Luuk & Saar" was played 2 more times for more children in the neighbourhood.
Good time flies. All the children received graduation certificates and small gifts.
The target group (international parents) evaluated the process, implementation and project's activities, as well - the achievements of their children from the beginning of 2021.
Reflection by the team on the learning process and evaluation of the project's final and long-term results.
[Guest at Dutch local podcast, organized by AANAMSTELVEEL.NL]
We talked about our EU Solidarity projects, under the European Solidarity Corps ("Bilingual Book for International Children", "Dutch for Non-Dutch", "Digital Skills for Elderlies", etc.), about ongoing and future projects.
We represented our projects, told about their success (VIDEO & PHOTO).
Was developed working in an international team. International kids were involved, keeping not only gender and age balances, but also - cultural and national backgrounds’ balance (to make the project really international). Being open for other cultures, habits and realities, the volunteers worked in international environment helped one another in preparing different working materials and presentations, children’s lap books, volunteers workshop “scripts” and other important notes for the team and the target group. The volunteers helped one another to support the kids to overcome the language barrier for free communication within the group. Native Dutch speaking volunteers did their best to support their international coworkers, who still had space to improve their Dutch (which also boosted their self-confidence). Thus the multilingual competence was perfectly improved during the project.
Personal, social and learning to learn competence
Solidarity projects first of all let the volunteers grow spiritually, become better persons by supporting those who really need their skills, experience, time or solicitude. This project was a good opportunity for the volunteers, to feel connected, cohesive and united. It gave them space to be tolerant, work separate and in a group, develop common working style and achieve the planned goals. They improved their ability to work in international environment, promoting social inclusion and solidarity. Working together the team had space to experience themselves in the position of project managers, presenters, developing not only number of personal and social skills, but also oratory skills, time-management, digital skills, ability to represent the information in easy and non-formal way, etc.
As the team members have different cultural and professional backgrounds, they were able to share and gain lots of skills and knowledge from one another. The volunteers improved their social competence through working, cooperating and communicating in the team, with the target group (international kids and their parents), as well with different local partners and others in the frame of the projects’ activities and in various situations, such as: planning different project activities and team-building games, organizing small group works, discussions, negotiation, brainstorming and evaluation sessions, competitions and other interactive activities. They developed negotiation and presentation skills, ability to delegate tasks and responsibilities, ability to ask for help or offer support, as well be happy to receive help. While dealing with the target group, they had chance to improve interpersonal communication, motivation skills, teaching in non-formal and fun way, to offer prepared workshop games and working materials to the kids, etc. During the Covid situation in the country the group found out the way to efficiently work also online, while preparing the workshops and provided support to the target group.
Learning to learn comp. was improved while doing various researches on diff. topics, developing working style, personal skills in non-formal learning (NFL) and afterwards sharing with the group. Social skills were improved, while communicating with the target group, partners and other local stakeholders for the project’s efficient implementation. Creating lap books and experiencing themselves in non-formal presenter’s role the team improved writing and digital skills, their Dutch grammar, as well researching, oratory and motivation skills. Personal, social and learning to learn competence was improved by reflections and discussions about the importance of self-assessment, periodic and monthly reflections, learning styles, effective non-formal methods (used by the coach and the whole group) and filling out the Youthpass. These made the volunteers to once again come back to themselves and think about their learning habits. Thus the team members learned by doing, experiencing non-formal learning methods by themselves.
Citizenship (Civic) competence
This project was aimed to promote social inclusion and to encourage youth to help the international kids and their parents to improve their Dutch in non-formal way to be more integrated into the local Dutch society. As a desired impact and outcome the youngsters have acquired such actual skills, as leadership, worked with other people in the neighbourhood, as well with the target group, which enhanced their social and civic competences. The project activities improved the citizenship (civic) competence, while the volunteers, acting as active citizens and initiating the Solidarity project, supported the target group in the neighbourhood and shared with them experience and knowledge on NFL. The volunteers have got awareness of the fundamental values of our society, such as solidarity, tolerance, empathy and respect towards otherness, self-confidence, adaptability. Civic part was improved by the volunteers, taking up tasks as active citizens, discovering more about the international community, as well about the Netherlands, international and Dutch people, differences and similarities in their learning and kids’ upbringing styles, their social and cultural habits, national holidays, festivals (for instance, Sinterklaas), as well – interests, daily routine. The team considered this information, while deciding the topics of the next workshops and getting prepared for their implementation.
Thanks to this project the volunteers made efforts to act as decision and change makers in the local and international communities in the neighbourhood, maybe even also in other parts of the Netherlands. With their example they promoted Solidarity as a value, strong citizenship and volunteering opportunities for the youth. This Solidarity project has not only benefited the international and Dutch speaking communities, but also the initiative youth themselves - opening lots of opportunities to learn new things, share and develop skills and practices, promoting social inclusion and care.
Using NFL methodology and working in international and fun environment, the team was given space to contribute to improvement of that competence. During project elaboration, they had a great chance to enrich their skills in entrepreneurship and project management, as the team was the one to take responsibility for the full implementation of the project. Sense of initiative, flexibility and entrepreneurship was improved by the volunteers, contributing for the project’s activities, its impact and results. The core skills, such as organizational skills and entrepreneurship competence were improved, taking up initiative in the activities and sharing ideas and practices with one another, as well with the coach. Coming up with new and fresh ideas, not being afraid to make mistakes, to initiate and manage different workshops and activities, as well to make changes in the working procedures - all of these were the basis for entrepreneurship competence’s improvement.
Teamwork, project set-up and implementation led to improvement of the volunteers’ organizational, administrative and time management skills. Leadership and entrepreneurship, problem resolution skills were improved, while planning and implementing this project. Presentation skills, key to success in entrepreneurship competence’s improvement, were developed, while working with the target group, as well while disseminating the project’s impact and results.
This Solidarity project had big impact on the volunteers, developing their skills in non-formal learning. Conducting works with the target group helped the volunteers to become more disciplined with a higher sense of responsibility, as the expectations from them were high. The team members had had already started to develop entrepreneurial attitude by taking initiative to implement this Solidarity project. Taking time and planning the project’s activities had positive effect on their personal learning process. The volunteers did their best to develop entrepreneurship competence within this project, as well will develop, while taking initiative and coming up with follow-up projects ideas and motivating youth to be involved in such Solidarity and volunteering initiatives. The team had a good overview of the learning outcomes, while working on the Youthpass. They are ready to make efforts to development their core competences, actively using and promoting Youthpass and its provided learning opportunities.
Cultural awareness and expression competence
The project encouraged communication and cooperation between youth from different countries, with different educational and cultural backgrounds. The team had space to make researches on the topics and had experience in working with different people, having different cultural backgrounds. The group developed flexibility, while getting ready for the workshops, sharing responsibilities within the group, taking into consideration not only interests, abilities, but also cultural backgrounds and cultural specificities/habits of each of the team members. Through information exchange and group discussions on cultural topics, songs and dances, theatre, literature and other forms of art, as well visiting libraries in the neighbourhood and conducting activities also there, the volunteers got to know each other and the target group better, gained knowledge about differences and similarities among their cultures. Practicing non-formal methodology, the volunteers made sure to include music and dances in each workshop. Thus the cultural awareness and expression competence the initiative volunteers improved, gained skills of expressing their own culture and learned about the others' – their coworkers and the target group.
Besides of the fact that the group consisted of a lot of international enthusiastic young individuals with different cultural and professional backgrounds, within the fame of this project the volunteers cooperated with the target group, with other people, again having different cultural backgrounds. The project’s activities gave the youth space to be tolerant, work separate and in a group, develop common working style and achieve the planned goals. The team members improved their ability to work in international environment, practiced Dutch, promoting social inclusion and solidarity. Working in international environment, in multinational and multicultural group, as well with Dutch partners - all of these were a great contribution to the volunteers’ cultural, social and communication skills’ development. Thus the team members benefited a lot, while implementing this very social and special project with great outcomes.
The project included very responsible tasks for the volunteers to be realised. They acted very attentive and enthusiastic, being able to create trustful and comfortable environment for the target group and help them to feel at ease, while making efforts to develop digital competences.
A lot of activities of this Solidarity Project were implemented in the digital space or using digital information/applications. While preparing presentation materials, creating lap books’ using various digital applications and programs, editing pictures digitally, conducting ZOOM preparation and evaluation virtual meetings, using WhatsApp and emails for communication, sharing working files on digital platform, making agreements digitally (with special attention to the personal data security), improving skills in online searching (for workshop materials), the team members developed personal digital skills by themselves. The team improved skills in making digital presentations, while getting prepared for the workshops and creating easy-to-understand digital materials on different necessary topics for the target group. Digital skills in video making were improved, while creating and promoting reporting and promotion videos after each implemented workshop. Working on the web-site, using various tools and applications for Social-Media Marketing also had great impact on digital competences improvement. The volunteers did their best to create trustful and comfortable non-formal environment for the vulnerable target group to learn by doing, helping them to feel at ease, while making efforts to develop their Dutch in fun and interactive environment.
Mathematical competence and competence in science, technology and engineering
That was done through the research, which was based on quantitative and qualitative data gathered and analysed by the volunteers. Also understanding the data was improved during the group discussions. These competences were improved, while solving problems, calculating, budgeting, controlling and planning expenses, finding ways to use cheaper working materials. The team prioritised using recycled materials for the workshops, taking care of the environment. Implementing workshops on environmental topics the team raised environmental awareness for the target group.
Was improved thanks to: proofreading, reading comprehension, researching, collecting, finding and processing necessary information to include in new workshops, improving speech and oratory skills, etc.
Task specific competences
Thanks to this project the volunteers got chance to develop imagination while thinking and implementing fun and Dutch learning activities for the target group. They experienced themselves in a dynamic non-formal teaching fun environment, thought out of box and improved flexibility, creativity, project planning and management, as well ability to pay attention to details. They made efforts to be concrete and clear using non-formal learning methodology and making the educational activities “light” and easily understandable for the kids. Working in international environment, they developed communication skills, patience, time-management, organizational skills, project management, ability to delegate responsibilities, motivate and inspire people. The volunteers actively experienced such skills, as networking, setting up a project independently, financial management and administration, as well enthusing others and working with a specific target group. They improved the level of trust and communication within the group, implementing periodic team building and brainstorming activities. They improved cooperation in the group in the frame of planning and preparation meetings.
Flexibility and problem solving skills were improved, while searching for necessary information and sources for the workshops. Creativity and researching skills were developed, while improving the writing competences (workshop plan/script, lap books, articles for newspapers, etc.). Critical thinking and problem solving skills were improved, while volunteering for the target group within different workshops and meetings. Reporting in short sentences, as well presentation skills were improved in the frame of various gatherings and workshops and while doing SMM.
The volunteers have got awareness of the fundamental values of our society, such as solidarity, tolerance, empathy and respect towards otherness, self-confidence. As well they developed such key skills, as creativity, flexibility and adaptability, communication and negotiation skills, time and people management, skills to delegate tasks, sense of responsibility, self and people motivation skills, conflict resolution, ability to make decisions, etc. The volunteers reflected on their learning process and evaluated improved skills, as well – project results, impact and outcomes, while working on their Youthpasses with the support of the coach.
We believe that as a result of this Solidarity Project the initiative youngsters will become real change makers in their communities, actively promoting social inclusion, solidarity as a value, care and support, benefits of volunteering projects, connecting different generations, cultures and nations, as well showing an example of fruitful cooperation and communication. All of the youngsters are standing as a pledge of efficient strong volunteers, youth workers, who actively promote solidarity as a value, introducing and spreading the standards and methods of NFL, promoting EU Solidarity Corps and telling about Youthpass.
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