EVS Diary

Volunteering in Germany

In Germany there used to be a time where men after graduation had to choose between going to the military or doing a community service. My dad picked the community service. Pussy :P I'm only joking! But then, in 2010 the government reversed this law and this is what is left:

 

FSJ/FÖJ:

The FSJ ( = voluntary social year) and FÖJ ( = voluntary ecological year) in Germany were founded by the church. It nearly works the same way an EVS does: You get free accommodation, pocket money and travel costs are covered too. You can do a FSJ in social, political, cultural or leisure facilities and normally it lasts about 12 months; up to 18 though and with a minimum of 6 months. It is also possible to combine different FSJ jobs! Everybody up to 27 years is able to work as a social volunteer if he or she completed the full amount of school service.

The benefits are that a FSJ can be seen as an internship during your career as a student in university and you get a discount card with discounts on public transport, museums public swimming pools etc. You can only do your FSJ once in your life and you can even do it abroad.

For the FÖJ the parameters are the exact same but you work in facilities such as gardens, animal care or environmental facilities obviously.

 

BUFTI

When talking about the BUFTI ( = National Voluntary Service) it is important to mention the differences: You can do it several times but only in national institutions. There are about 221.000 jobs in Germany (in cultural, social and ecological dimensions) and there is no age limit which basically means that even your Grandma would be allowed to do a BUFTI! And it's worth it: The highest amount of pocket money per month in 2016 was at 372€! Oh and furthermore it is allowed to have a job besides your voluntary work. Foreigners can take part in the BUFTI too if they have a safe income and a visa.

Surprisingly I found out that the BUFTI is mostly common in the East and North-East of Germany. Why is that surprising? Well, Germany used to be split into two halves and usually the East of Germany was and still is disadvantaged – so respect that the people are still willing to VOLUNTEER!

 

Of course there are many other ways to volunteer; you can always go to NGO's and ask for volunteer offers; and of course you can always take care about your neighbours' children but these are most official ones I found besides EVS! I couldn't such thing as the 'Week Of Volunteering' but there are fairs where you can go to in order to receive information. Many cities have their own volunteering platform which works like a source and exchange of information and connects volunteers with organizations or even people who are looking for informal volunteering. Especially now in times of war in the Middle East there are many platforms which collect volunteer projects which help refugees (e.g. giving away water, translating etc.). Institutions of the church are looking for volunteers in this issue as well of course.

So this is how we do it in Germany! I have to say that usually it is like many people go abroad but only a small minority is willing to host people, students or volunteers. Sad fact but I would say if we raise awareness this could be changed within a few years.

See you in the beginning of December; I will let you know about possible Christmas volunteering offers!

 

Luka Paul Vethake

 

 

Quote of the day:

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.“

~ Booker T. Washington

 

 

 

source of intro image:  https://goo.gl/tgfQEa 

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