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help exchange   Host 10507
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha):
Persons: 5
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 10507
Country: Germany

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Last Updated: March 22, 2019

We are an autonomous project that supports community projects and the people who work in them. We are working toward a sustainable urban village, along with federated collectives in the neighborhood.

We live in a beautiful house constructed in 1885, 15 minutes from the center of the city. We found it in 2009, abandoned, trashed, and selling cheap. Electricity and water services have been restored for the most part. About 90% of the house is now habitable. The project house includes an events space, bistro, coworking/day-care, workshop, storage spaces, three kitchens and plenty of bedrooms. Through a network of friends and parties, this house has become a lively center of philosophical, political, and scientific discussions.

Volunteers participate in a vegan pizzeria / cultural center or in a communal coworking space for parents.

****Please let us know if it is okay to share your profile with other volunteers whose stays would overlap with yours. We (including volunteers) vote on bringing new people into the house.*****

Help in the Pizzeria

In this new project, we are aiming to generate 500 €/month to fund non-profit projects, events and organizations. The main topic is "sustainability in an urban context", so (educational) events and projects must have something to do with ecology, veganism/animal rights/organic food, healthy food, resilience, urban gardening, degrowth/anti-consumerism, DIY-culture etc.

The place is completely run by volunteers from abroad and from Leipzig who make vegan pizzas and organize events (like educational workshops that are offered for free or donation based to the public; parties and concerts to raise money for non-profit organizations based in Leipzig, DIY-workshops on how to build or repair cool stuff at home etc.). Customers vote where the money will go to next donation round.

Coworking Space for parents
We have spots for two volunteers as babysitters (10-12 AM and 1-6 PM). The babysitters ought to have experience with children aged 0-3. Basic German is helpful, but not critical. The parents don`t leave the house and are always around. Babysitters don`t feed, change diapers nor put the kids to bed – the parents cover these things. The babysitters mainly entertain the kids so that parents can work. Whenever there is a problem - mom or dad are around to take care of it. We have a "manual" with loads of fun activities for children under 3.


For both volunteer positions we are looking for both short term and long term volunteers – volunteers who are English native speakers and who are interested in staying long term have the possibility to earn a small income by teaching English in their free time.

Volunteers helps us a maximum of 25 hour week, five days per week.

The minimum stay is 3 weeks. A stay shorter than 3 weeks is not possible because training and introducing people to the house takes time. Volunteers who can stay longer than 3 weeks are preferred over those who cannot.

More information:

The pizzeria is open 18:00-22:00, Tuesday through Saturday. There is deep-cleaning on Monday. The shifts are communally decided during the plenary on Monday. Sometimes the crew stays up late on Wednesdays because of the Open Mic night, but this is only when they think it`s fun to do so.

German is useful but not necessary. Nearly all young people in the neighborhood speak English. The pizzeria is well known for it`s international crew.

There is a plenary (meeting) every week where you will be invited to participate in the decision making process about where the money will be going to next time. We have so far donated 1200 € to two projects and are currently saving up to complete a big renovation, a fire proof ceiling, required by German law.

There is a dog who is free to roam the house. He's super friendly and plush, suitable for advanced users as well as beginners.

Funding your stay
It is important to know that we can only fund your stay helping in the pizzeria if you are willing to either host a lecture or workshop. This is due to legal requirements, but we are genuinely interested in self-help/education, and the residents also participate.

Topics that volunteers have hosted before as a lecture:
- Vitamin B12 – what is it good for?
- Radioactivity – how does it work?
- Vitamin C – what can it cure?
- understanding statistics
- feminism in science
(these were each 30 minutes long with a short Q and A at the end)

Workshops that volunteers have given before:
- how to make home made oat milk
- vegan cooking
- making smoothies
- pancake meet-up

The range of topics is open. For a time, we hosted a “Slice of Science” series in which short presentations of some science or technology topics were given. DIY lectures/workshops are possible, like how to make soap or your own cleaning supplies, how to prepare a raw-food cake, or why raw food is healthy... We have also been asked to host speeches about how things work – like "how really does a mobile phone or the internet work?" You can ask for advice or ideas for topics or you can propose a topic yourself. It is fine to host these events in English.

About our community
There are 5 permanent residents and 5 volunteers. As part of our community, we expect you to participate in the regular chores such as shopping, cleaning, cooking, like everybody else in the house. The time for this is included in the 25 hours mentioned above.

About Accommodation:

There are 6 small guest rooms in the house, which are partially renovated, but furnished and clean. Normally there is one person per room, but friends may share a room. In the winter, heating is carried out with Victorian-era coal furnaces. There is one tiled bathroom, the other ones are in some intermediate state of renovation. There are three public WCs on other floors. There are three kitchens, but only one has food.

We are a vegan household. Few of us are vegan personally, and sometimes no one in the house is, but we recognize that no possible sustainable future includes meat, so voilà. There are some meat and dairy products in the refrigerator at all times. Our shared meals remain vegan though.

About Leipzig:

Leipzig is graciously endowed with many parks, beautiful architecture, and is surrounded by many lakes. Leipzig has an excellent tram system, and for better or for worse, you have excellent access to it from our house. Our neighborhood, Lindenau, is arguably Leipzig`s pre-coolest neighborhood. While former cool neighborhoods have been overrun with prams and napkin boutiques, Lindenau has remained gritty, graffiti`d, and full of students, artists, and activists. We participate in events hosted by allied housing projects and we host events ourselves.

You may benefit from:
- German classes for free/donation based
- "language nights", for free (every table has a different language, people meet, talk in different languages and form tandems)
- a large variety of underground art exhibitions
- many housing projects with attached cultural spaces, where they host political discussions and lectures
- a well developed alternative subculture with a variety of musical styles
- a few venues with open poetry or jam-sessions for musicians and poets
- alternative projects such as a repair café, an upcycling and material collection store, a cooperative organic food store, a self-organized "institute for autodidactic learning," as well as quite a few collectively owned enterprises.

As a volunteer in the pizzeria,

- you will hear and learn a lot about our favourite topic: sustainability
- you may participate in the workshops and educational events we will offer
- you will learn how to make the best vegan pizzas ever!
- you will meet a lot of neighborhood people, not just our friends.

As a volunteer in the coworking project,

- you will study an alternative day-care project closely
- you will hear about alternative child rearing techniques, such as "diaper free", "attachment parenting", "baby signs"
- you will hear about the evolutionary perspective on child-rearing and how evolution explains a lot of what is going on with the child-parent relationship

As we are an alternative project house, living in our community will offer you the following learning fields:

- vegan/vegetarian nutrition
- transparent distribution of tasks through our unique "task auction system"
- improving cooking skills; cooking for 6-10 people
- event organization

About us:

We are interested in general in projects, ideas and conversations about sustainability - degrowth, decrecencia, sustainability, financial crisis, CSA, permaculture, peak oil etc. We are also interested in helping people in their own projects with our knowledge and resources, projects like for instance: building bike-machines, cargo-bikes, a repair shop, clothes repair, urban gardening, CNC-router, fablab, DIY-furniture. If you are looking for the opportunity to start a project, let us know. The pizzeria was started by a former volunteer!

Lastly, this is an *alternative* project house. This means you might encounter someone with long hair asking embarrassing questions about the financial system, education, food, anything. If you live with your mom, ride ponies or watch television, please ask for our website address first. We are happy to provide you information about the mental dangers you face.

About contacting us:

When you write us, please answer the following questions:

* From when to when are you available?
Include the broadest range possible. You`ll be invited to take a slot that fits in your range.
* is it OK to send your profile to house members and other volunteers, whose stay might overlap with yours, for voting? We (including volunteers) vote on bringing new people into the house.

We know from reading your profile that you are open-minded, responsible, and hard-working. You love traveling and learning about other cultures. You don`t have much experience, but you are a quick learner. If you`d like to send any other info about yourself, it will be easier to remember you. We receive on average one request per day, so after a couple weeks, that`s a lot of profiles to remember. Help us choose you!

If your profile is thin or has an evasive photo, it won`t even be put up for voting. We know from experience that such profiles get vetoed. If you have privacy concerns and would rather communicate with us securely, just ask!

Thank you very much for reading this far!

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