Erasmus+ – European Voluntary Service


Circolo Arci Babilonia is a social promotion organisation (not for profit) whose members are mainly young people between 20 and 35 years old and which is part of the national network Arci Nuova associazione.
The main activity of the organisation is the management of the Youth/cultural centre Mistero Buffo, which developed in 2000 within a Youth programme Action 3 – youth initiatives project and over the past 15 years has established itself as a point of reference for cultural promotion at local level. In 2008 the organisation started a partnership with other 3 local ngos “Associazione Culturale Scarti” , “circolo Legambiente Sartorius von Waltershausen” and “associazione Altroquando” to offer new services for the young people taking part in the daily life of the centre.
The model of management of the Mistero Buffo centre is based on co-management and self-funding principles, following a decision made by the young people which are active part of the centre. The centre is open to all valuable cultural initiatives coming from anyone willing to invest their time in sharing their passions and skills to enrich the local community.
The organisation acts a social hub and runs several activities with a strong cultural impact on the local community, especially focusing on young people:
-Management of the youth centre. The centre offers a number of artistic workshops and events (e.g. music, reading, theatre, dance, drawing, juggling, video, photography, creative writing); initiatives in cooperation with formal education structure to promote education to legality and active citizenship; initiatives on social inclusion (support, information and guidance for disadvantaged young people and immigrants); Citizenship education activities for immigrants (such as Italian language lessons, excursions and tours of the town, intercultural theatre workshops); a space for music bands and theatre groups; Internet facilities, a library, an audiovisual library; the implementation of cultural activities such as cinema, foreign languages, music, theatre events and support to the international short film festival Magma, organised every year by the ngo Scarti.
-Promotion of European youth mobility. The organisation is also involved in international networks for the promotion of European youth mobility, cooperating with different organisations to implement youth exchanges and other international projects.
All activities take place mainly in the afternoon and in the evening.
The activities of the organisation are mainly run with the voluntary contribute of members, thanks to a clear division of tasks and responsibilities which garantees the continuity and long-term approach of our work. The organisation has also hosted and has put forward an application to host again national civil service volunteers for them to spend 30 hours of service a week at the youth centre. Different professional artists (musicians, actors, directors) support the organisation every time is needed, especially as regards specific artistic workshops.
The project aims to offer the volunteers an opportunity to be involved in non formal education, community work, cultural activities, citizenship education for immigrants and activities related to the promotion and valorisation of the environment. Volunteers will support the organisation members in the planning, implementation and evalution of the youth centre activities. Our idea of “support” in connection with the role to be taken by the volunteers involves not being simply passive observers of what is happening around them, but we believe that they should gradually gain autonomy, feel part of the organisation and fully understand the context around them, thanks to the help offered by our members.
The possibility to plan and develop own projects will be a key factor for this learning path. It is important that volunteers have a strong sense of initiative and are willing to share and propose new ideas, activities and projects for the organisation.
The project will mainly take place in the headquarter of Circolo Arci Babilonia. The environmental and cultural activities over summer may take place in the tourist centre of the natural reserve La Timpa in Acireale. Some of the activities, especially related to environmental workshops with schools, might take place in the schools of Acireale.
Arci Babilonia is located in Acireale, a town in the province of Catania with around 60.000 inhabitants. The town has a great geographical position: on one side, it overlooks the Ionic sea from la Timpa, a lava fault and natural reserve of environmental value; on the other, it lies on the foothills of Mount Etna (Europe’s tallest active volcano) and is just 15 km away from Catania.
The youth centre Mistero Buffo is situated in the historical part of Acireale, only a couple of minutes away from the main square, Piazza Duomo.
Participants with fewer opportunities

This organisation has additional mentoring or other support suitable for young people with social obstacles, educational difficulties, cultural differences or similar.