Initiated in 1954, the aim of the Emmaus movement is to work towards the revalorization of peole who suffer from social marginalization and to help them recover their rights and dignity. Emmaus 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 Emmaus communities) 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.
While it occupies a central place in the communities, the work does not have the same meaning as in a market economy and it is lived differently. In a community, each companion is committed to work according to their capabilities and possibilities. The work will involve collecting donated items, sort them, repair them and recycle them, and sell them. It allows each companion to food, to be accommodated, to go on holidays, to participate in social and cultural life but also to benefit from many services, such as the right to health, social security, validation of quarters retirement. It also gives the opportunity to help people, associations or projects of its immediate environment and initiate actions of solidarity.
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 meal preparations, the maintenance of the houses. Everybody is on the same level, volunteer and companion and does his/her part of the tasks (selling donations in the shops, sorting donations, loading trucks, ect).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 Emmaus Community have had very tough lives and harsh experiences. For Emmaus 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 Emmaus 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 takes place in a town called Neuilly Plaisance, at 15 km in the north from Paris.
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.