The aim of the Emmaüs movement is to work towards the revalorization of peole who suffer from social marginalization and to help them recover their rights and dignity. EMMAÜS communities are places where everybody is welcomed regardless of his/her past and where solidarity is a principle of life. People are provided with a place where they can live and work. Some 'companions' (people living in the communities of Emmaüs) spend a few months in a community and will find there the support and social bearings needed for their reinsertion into the society. For others, living in an Emmaus community is an alternative way of life.
Communities are made of houses where the companions and volunteers live together and of other buildings where they work in differents areas: there is usually a selling place where the clients come, storage sheds where the items given to the community are stored and workshops where they are repaired and cleaned.
First of all, the volunteer is invited to discover the various activities of the community and then depending on his/her skills, the volunteer will find his/her place and role inside the organisation. The volunteer is associated to the tasks carried out by the companions and is involved in the community life through the meals preparations, the maintenance of the houses. Everybody is on the same level, volunteer and companion and does his/her part of the tasks.The volunteer is also expected to come up with ideas for organising activities that will give the chance to the community to learn about his country and culture.
Volunteer requirements / Skills
Male and Female. Age 18-30. Sense of adaptation, psychological balance, autonomy, to be pedagogical, good social skills. Most of the people who come to live in an Emmaüs Community have had very tough lives and harsh experiences. For Emmaüs community, welcoming volunteers is a way of opening the community on other horizons. There are French and foreign people who work as volunteers in most Emmaüs community. Their help is seen as an act of solidarity. It is precious and valued by the communities. The presence of volunteers is an opportunity for exchanges between volunteers and 'companions': volunteers learn about the social difficulties in France and companions get a change to discover their culture and country of origin.
The community is located 1 km away from a village (Étoile sur Rhône) of that is 10 km away from Valence (64 000 inhabitants) in the south-east of France. It takes 15 minutes by bus to go to Valence. The weather over there is quite warm from spring to autumn but the volunteer has to bear in mind that the winter can be very cold. Companions can get clothes from Emmaüs shop for free, so volunteers don't have to bring a lot of clothes.
Hosting Situation (Board and Lodging)
The volunteer gets a room of his/her own in one of the house/Foyer. Facilities are shared with the other people living in the house.