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As part of our latest Vocational Educational Training (VET) project, we asked our hosting partners what impacts Climb Higher had on their organisation, beneficiaries and local community. They are also explaining the methods they used to best support our VET trainees.

Donkey Sanctuary Aruba

Desiree Eldering, Manager

All volunteers or trainees who come to the Donkey Sanctuary in Aruba are participating in many aspects of taking care of donkeys, cats (4 permanent residents), countless chicken and the neighbors peacocks. The last 2 take care of all the bugs at the property.
We start at 9am with feeding all animals, cleaning and filling the water troughs and scooping a lot of poop. We have 122 donkeys on site and they produce 24/7.

After the team coffee break we still continue cleaning manure, clean the visitors center, bathrooms, the shop and the bar.
We encounter with our visitors, inform them about the sanctuary, the history of the donkeys on Aruba and donkeys in general.
Some of our gift items need to be packed, or packing material needs to be foreseen of flyers, those are tasks for the afternoon, when it is too hot to work in the field.
When the volunteer or trainee stays at the apartments upstairs, they also have to clean the quarters. Wash the beds and do their dishes.

They learned how to work in a team, communicate and encounter strangers (our guests). Often the volunteer leaves with more confidence. Of course they fall in love with the animals and are a huge fan of donkeys in as a first.
Indirect they show the world that Aruba can be kind for animals as well. Volunteering at one of the animal rescues makes a big impact in the Aruban Society.

Velebitska udruga Kuterevo – Croatia

Josipa, Tara, Ivan

On the occasion of the end of our partnership in the Everything-is-possible project (Climb higher), we would like to inform you about our evaluation of the success of the project for volunteers and the assessment of the usefulness of their engagement for the progress of our activities.

In general: the implementation of the project had a very positive impact on the development of our target project frameworks and the implementation steps agreed upon with you. Based on the specific and unique conditions of the project: an active local community, in the wild environment of a century-old mixed forest, in the rugged Velebit mountain massif, where there is a compact wilderness with a genetically stable population of three (four) large mammals – gray wolf, Eurasian lynx, and brown bear, in active or relatively conflict-free coexistence with human civilization.

In partnership with your organization, we organized the stay of young people from urban areas in the UK and the realization of an andragogic mission that aims not only to adopt bear orphans but also to preserve the integrity (compactness) of the wilderness in Upper Croatia (Cromontana) as a basic aspect of the specialty of VUK’s practice – wildlife conservation/protection in us and around us and with the aim of preventing and minimizing conflicts between rural civilization and mountain wilderness. For example through the uncontrolled development of mountain tourism (two NP, one PP).

Your volunteers thus got the opportunity to meet and understand the usefulness of the still-present, simple way of life in Kuterevo (principle of frugality) as an important segment for the successful coexistence of the four large mammals and the prevention of possible conflicts between the wild and civilization.

This familiarity and understanding of diverse and simple living conditions as the basic postulate of project implementation were an important landmark for us in our daily work of informing and entertaining visitors, taking care of animal welfare, and maintaining fences and access roads. For young people from the high urban culture of the UK, this created a natural need for adaptation through active language learning and practicing non-English-communicating as a solidarity behavior outside the accustomed language and cultural booth/comfort.

A self-organized way of caring for the common physical and spiritual needs of everyday life in the volunteer station, but also diversity in the international structures of volunteer station users contributed a great deal to avoid the separation/isolation of individuals and groups by ethnonational key. In short: It was a pulsating planet in miniature.

Speaking of the specifics of the Kuterevo Project Practice, we cannot fail to mention the emphasis on the daily coexistence and spending of free time in the voluntary sector through the avoidance of excessive tourist evaluation of the stay in Kuterevo, a village located in rugged nature rich in numerous attractions (Plitvice, Nordadria, Karst) and a culture rich in sights (Nikola Tesla, traces of Ottoman times, Uskoken Senj).

Dear Project Partner, We are grateful to you for the great number of learning opportunities through cooperation and always open communication about possible misunderstandings and overcoming them. We didn’t always understand it, but we were amazed by your unceasing curiosity about the streamlined project practice.

We hope that the benefit of using our combined resources was both visible and useful for you and your volunteers. And finally, we would like to emphasize our gratitude to the volunteers who stayed with us and were willing to put up with our sometimes very demanding rules of coexistence in the volunteer station and in the surrounding wilderness.

Thank you. Greetings to the entire management team.

Caprifolen – Sweden

Minna Slottheden

The project climb higher has made a big impact on both our organisation and the members and by collaborating with Everything possible and being involved in the project Climb Higher our organisation, and local community has experienced a big positive impact. Not only interacting with our members and staff but also making it possible to host activities where the local community could attend. Our organisation did also get many new experiences which we can bring into future work when hosting young people like this. The young trainees became an inspiration for our young participants and in collaboration they created different activities for both our members but also young people in our municipality. Caprifolens goal is to empower young people and give them the opportunity to grow. By giving the young people a chance to express their ideas and thoughts they become more involved in the activities. Caprifolens youth section had ideas of activities and together with help and support from the staff at Caprifolen together with the young trainers that we hosted, the activities became a success. We were able to organise activities during the school holidays for both members and young people from the municipality. The activities had a variety and focus of the needs that young people had expressed, such as hobby horse workshop, hobby horse competition, filmmaking for tiktok, horse games, treasure hunt, etc. One of Caprifolens main target group are people with disabilities and the key action is to create activities that are inclusive so that it can be done in mixed groups. Caprifolen use KASAMs 3 lead words comprehensible, manageable and meaningful as methodology and approach when they create, evaluate and measure the activities.

From this exchange the young trainers have gained knowledge in areas of horsecare, inclusion work, mixed group approach with circus, vaulting and musical, to get skills in problem solving, communication, planing, work against deadline, team building and go out of comfort zone.

Caprifolen has from this experience growed and got inspired to learn more from other cultures and societies.

Etna Finder

Lorenzo Motta

Etna Finder is very proud to be part of the international project Climb Higher and I can surely assert that these kind of projects are the right and also easiest way to allow young people to grow and learn.
The effective strength of Etna Finder relies on the punctual organization, multi-colored proposals and, last but not least, on the wide range of exciting activities that Sicily gives the opportunity to live.

As a matter of fact, our last project gave the young trainees the fortune to experience different climates and to enjoy different landscapes on Mount Etna: the young trainees, in fact, walked under the sun, they learnt how to find a shelter in the rain, and they also climbed the snow-covered volcano…within only three days!

All we know that Nature is a wonderful and Etna Finder knows how to find and live it in an astonishing way! Our young trainees experienced many different activities in contact with nature; just to name something: trekking on Mount Etna -already mentioned above- kayaking, mountain bike, fish hunting, canyoning… They also enjoyed exploring the city of Catania, of course.

The easiest way to help them learn new skills was to stimulate their action and encourage their initiatives. Everyday offered new experience and team building activities helped the group collaborating on shared goals. Etna Finder favored the acquisition of self-confidence and self-esteem and stimulated the motivation to learn and then improve day by day. Etna Finder also gave them useful info on trekking, volcanology, fishing techniques and they also gained orienteering skills. I’m sure they had a great time project with Etna Finder!

The young guys also had some free time they experienced in a funny way too. They had some relax at the beach and explored the beauties of the Sicilian surroundings. As a consequence, they got in contact with local community. They mixed with them and spent some time with people of Italian culture. They became more confidence with them day by day.
This cultural exchange had a positive feedback also in the local community as I’m quite sure there will be some young guys here in Sicily that is planning to live activities like those organized by Climb Higher projects!

Project part of Climb Higher, organised by Everything is Possible.
Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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