The European Voluntary Service works thanks to the ERASMUS + program set up by the European Union to help young people from different corners of Europe and beyond, gain new experiences, improve intercultural dialogue and the linguistic, social and professional skills of young people aged 18-30 years.
The mission of the Calvary Fund is restoration of Calvary in Banská Štiavnica – sacral complex of churches and chapels– which became recently seriously endangered. Few years ago it was on the list of 100 the most endangered monuments in the world. Together with its recontstruction we want to make it again place for cultural, religious and touristic activities.
We were established in 2008 and except professional workers and restorators, the involment of volunteers is a big part of our mission. Thanks to EVS volunteers we run small exhibition in one of the churches and we, sometimes also with help of other volunteers, maintain the site area.
We are also running a youth hostel in the town and scout campsite in surrounding mountains.
Since 2006 we host usually 2-5 EVS volunteers every year. Our aim is to make activities being useful to society and to voluteers as well.
EVS service lasts for 6 to 12 months, and there are 2 to 4 volunteers on the project at a time.
The main EVS activities are:
- Service in the exhibition about the history and present of the Calvary in the Lower Church
– the volunteer’s job is very similar to that of a regular infocentre: the volunteer opens up individual chapels and churches, provides information to visitors, ensures the cleanliness of the premises, sells souvenirs and tourist literature, and keeps daily records of visits and donations.
- Assistance in organizing volunteer brigades
– As there are group of corporate volunteers or students comming to help the restoration, volunteers are very much needed in the implementation of such brigades, which often involve 20 to 70 other volunteers at the same time.
- Help with regular Calvary maintenance
– The Calvary area is very large and consists of up to 23 sacral buildings, requiring regular maintenance. Volunteers, alongside our employees, help mowing and cleaning the grounds, cleaning churches and chapels, remove snow during winter, moving materials and many other works.
- Activities of Scout camp in Štiavnické vrchy
– this scout camp began to write its history of Scout camps before the 2nd. World War and its activity was recently restored thanks to the Baden-Powell Foundation. Today, group of scouts visit it not only from Slovakia but also from other European countries. Help of volunteers is needed especially before the summer camp season begins, such as mowing and raking, cleaning of the rafting woods, building wooden camping buildings and the like.
- Community events and activities around the Scout House
The Scout House is a hostel where volunteers are also accommodated. During the year, several community events such as meeting of young local families, apple harvesting and others, including volunteers, take place in its premises. In addition, they also help in working on the garden, which is the place for these community events.
- Personal project and other activities
The intent of the program is to get as much skill as possible, so we are trying to give our volunteers space for their own ideas for self-realization. It depends only on the assumptions and initiative of the volunteers themselves, how their personal project may look.
In addition, other occasional activities are part of the project, depending on the skills of the volunteers: native language teaching; assisting in local kindergardens, help with creating a website or promotional materials; quides of the calvary visitors in foreing language; restoration workshops of old furniture; text translations; digitalizing old scout photographs; photo documentation, of local architectural features, etc.
BANSKÁ ŠTIAVNICA – place of the project
Banská Štiavnica is placed in the central part of Slovakia with 10 000 inhabitans. The town belongs to the triad of historical mining towns in central Slovakia, which were famous in the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire for plentiful resources of gold, silver and copper. It still keeps its medieval character and the town is on the UNESCO list. Nowadays, it is a district town of app. 25 000 inhabitants. The town still breathes history which is mostly due to the number of historical monuments and cultural events taking place here during the year.
Banska Stiavnica is situated in hilly terrain (600-1000 m) with forests, many hiking trails and about 10 artificial lakes suitable for swimming, which makes it a popular target of tourism in summer. Althought during summer its full of tourist, during autumn and winter, it falls asleep covered by snow and fog.
The closest bigger city is Banská Bystrica – 50 km away. The capital – Bratislava – is 170 km from the town. There are 2 disco clubs, few pubs, fitness center, cinema, swimming pool and bowling center in the town.
With the support of the ERASMUS + program, it covers travel expenses, health insurance, monthly pocke money, accommodation, language courses in Slovak, and also training sessions on arrival at the project and during the project.
We see the European service as a great help to continue our activities. It allows enrichment not only for the participants themselves, but also for us who are coordinating them during their stay. And we believe that visitors of the Calvary and Banská Štiavnica benefits as well.
WHAT DO WE EXPECT FROM YOU?
We expect from you the ability to speak English, Russian, German or Slovak at least on basic level, so that we can understand each other and you can provide basoc information to visitors of the Calvary.
We expect your willingness to work in a team and ability to independently perform certain tasks. We welcome experiences of working with youngsters, positive relationship to cultural history and nature. As manually work being a great part of our daily work, it is important that you are not affraid of it.
You will live with other EVS volunteers and share the same flat and rooms, so tolerance is very important.
Your initiative and creativity is welcome. Even thought we try to reduce it as much as possible, it is important that you are flexible enough as your schedule might change quite often.
ACCOMODATION, POCKET MONEY, LANGUAGE COURSES AND LEISURE TIME:
You will live with a group of around 2-4 volunteers together in a flat directly in the youth hostel in the town center. Your food needs and pocket money are covered by the project (260 € per month). Volunteer will get access to the Slovak on-line language course, but if it´s necessary, we are funding extra courses of Slovak lessons (or other language).
Your free time and free days depends on agreement. Work week is usually around 35 hours with 2 free days.
Longer period of holiday is possible mainly during winter season but generally it is case of agreement.
WHAT ARE THE LEARNING OUTCOMES OF THE PROJECT:
You can improve and develope your:
- Interpersonal and social competences
- Adaptability and coping with new challenges, team-working with colleagues, sharing responsibility for living together with a multi-national team of volunteers
- Cultural expression
- cultural awareness and social skills
- Communication and language skills
- Ability to speak on public and quiding group of people
- Developing a sense of initiative and activism
- Manual skills
If you would like to be part of our project, please send your CV and motivation letter to email@example.com.
See here short EVS film shot by one of our voluteers in 2012: