The association Tolbà was created in 1992 in order to promote the wellbeing of immigrants who live in Matera, to promote initiatives to improve social relationships between foreigners and local people, initiatives of international solidarity, especially in the health and social sector, to offer temporary and long-term housing, to provide tools to get access to Italian social and sanitary facilities. Target groups: asylum seeker, refugees, local community. Aim: to offer services that facilitate the integration of migrant citizens (information desk, Italian language lessons, support to carry out bureaucratic procedures, job orientation…), to promote knowledge of other cultures and intercultural issues through the publication of multilingual books and intercultural workshops in schools.

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Ongoing projects: Tolbà association manages on behalf of the city of Matera, in partnership with the cooperative “Il Sicomoro”, a hosting and integration project for refugees and asylum seeker, included in the national programme SPRAR for integration activities. On behalf of the City of Salandra is carryin out a project in favor of foreign unaccompanied minor asylum seekers and owners of international protection, safeguard and integration activities. Tolbà is involved in a multicultural educational support activity in favor of foreign students and people with specific needs within schools. Free Italian L2 classes are organized. At the moment the main office in Matera is hosting two volunteers of the National Civil Service for projects in favor of immigrants, oriented to protection and advocacy and to fight early school leaving. Tolbà offers in its headquarters in Matera an information desk that not only provides an information and orientation service, but it is also a promoter of raising awareness activities on immigration topics for schools and the community. Tolbà is also an intercultural center: it organizes recreational-educational intercultural activities for youth in different ways (reading, music, films, art…), it realizes formative initiatives of update for teachers, operators and volunteers, it organizes events for the knowledge of other cultures. All these activities are run with the cooperation of local authorities, institutions, associations that are part of a cooperation network, which has been built up during the years throughout the area of the province of Matera. It is important to mention the jointly publishing activity “The Tolba Library” that allows the creation of multilingual and intercultural books, whose sale finances some projects. Tolbà offers also consultation services dealing with immigration and intercultural issues for authorities that ask for them, (as an example, the Province of Matera asked for a report about immigration). The working environment is very intercultural not only for the users but also for the presence of external collaborators: mediators, translators and writers. Staff can rely on the knowledge of French, English, Spanish and German, as well as specific languages of the mediators native country (Arabic, Eritrean, Albanian, Romanian, Bulgarian…).

The association Tolbà works since 1992 in the context of immigration supporting the integration of foreign people, Italian language courses L2, orientation on the territory, legal and administrative consulting. It is useful for the intercultural promotion with activities for the different educational levels and for the local community with the creation of a publishing house: “La Biblioteca di Tolbà”. Tolbà publishes also multilingual books (europeans languages but but also Tigrinya, Arabic, Chinese etc.) with the aim of promoting the different cultures for the creation of an intercultural citizenship. During the many years of activities, the association has managed information desks for immigrants in the territory of Matera and its province, hosting projects for asylum seekers and refugees as leader and as partner for the activities of integration and projects on the social and scholastic inclusion with European funding for citizen’s integration coming from third countries. The Association Tolbà wants to involve in its work, young European volunteers in the conviction to share with them a path of citizenship, for respect of diversity and for promotion of the themes of the solidarity and the knowledge of immigration and political asylum. Volunteers will be an important added value for all the activities of the association and this will be for the volunteers an important chance of training and growth. The actions and the finality of EVS are complementary to the mission of the association. This European experience represent a real opportunity to design and make informal networks with other bodies and associations, for a common work for the integration of foreign people. Tolbà has obtained accreditation to host volunteers EVS in past years which expired, at that stage has decided to not renew it because of an internal reorganization. Today, the organization has reached a new stability that allows us to host new volunteers from 2017.

The association is made up of a stable group of members, doctors specialized in psychiatry, medicine of migrations and pediatrics, ex teachers, university lecturers and social operators. The working group consists of one responsible, a coordinator, two legal operators, two integration workers, two L2 teachers  and an administration officer with experience in managing projects financed by European funds.

Role of volunteers. The volunteers will make their contribution, according to their abilities, enriching the already diverse intercultural environment and bringing points of view and suggestions to the organization of the activities.
The volunteer will support on daily basis:
– in the mornings the Italian language course for adults which aims to support the foreigners to learn Italian and to become more independent  in Italian Social and professional life, but is also an important moment for sharing needs, interested and discover each others cultures;
– in the afternoons the volunteers support after school support for children and youth, which is to help them in not loosing track in school because of language matters, and also receive support in integration from international volunteers who are also foreigners so as them;
– preparation and realization of sensibilization activities against racism and pro-integration in public middle and high schools;
– legal support, assistance to the lawyer and the refugee, research for legal practice, ect. to support the lawyer of Tolbà in preparing the requests of permit of stay or other legal papers.

After a first phase of introduction in all kind of activities, the volunteers can choose on what activity he/she wants to do more.

Support. The volunteers will receive support from the hosting organization and in particular from the project tutor and from the operators of Tolbà organization.
The volunteer will be supported in the use of the online language study program and will participate in meetings of Italian language and culture for foreigners organized both by B-Link and by Tolbà. The volunteer will be guaranteed board and lodging according to the standards set by the program. The accommodation will be insured in a central apartment in Matera, with other international volunteers this will favor the exchange, interaction and implementation of common projects.

Hosting conditions
Volunteers do life in double rooms, inside a flat shared with other volunteers in Matera. The flats are between 5 and 10 min walking distance from the city center, and between 5 and 15 min to the hosting organization. The apartments are self-managed by the persons who life inside (cleaning, shopping, cooking) and everyone needs to follow basic rules.

Every volunteer hosted within ESC program receive on a monthly basis:

  • pocket money (5€ per day, about 150€)
  • food money (155€)

Matera is a city of about 65.000 inhabitants, in the beautiful southern Region of Basilicata in Italy. It is the capital of the province of Matera. The town just in front of a small canyon carved out by the Gravina. Known as the city of the Sassi, its historical center, famous for the Park of the Rupestrian Churches, which has made Matera considered as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

On 17 October 2014, Matera was declared Italian host of European Capital of Culture for 2019. See on the official website on what happened that year: 

Read on the blog of Human Capital 2019 project what happened in that amazing year, but also in general, what volunteers do during their experience in Matera: 

Next dates will be: to be updated.

Selection criteria: young people from EU countries aged 18-30, with a knowledge of English and (even if not compulsory) Italian. Interest in the topics of social inclusion of migrants, migrant issues, refugee politics, education and association life.


Contacts: – subject TOLBA

Deadline: to be updated