International exchange and encounters, accompanying of "VSY" volunteers as mentors
Another focus of our projects is to bring young adults (18 to 25 years old) from our culture into contact with people from other cultures and to support them as mentors, for example as part of their voluntary social year (“VSY”). We are convinced that this will have a positive impact on the lifes of these young people. In many cases, this creates a lasting bond with the host families, friends and institutions in the host country, in which one year has been spent. Some of the young people even initiate follow-up projects from Germany after completing the “VSY”.
The „weltwärts“ program launched by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with a German sending organization and its partner organization in the host country enables young people to spend up to one year abroad.
Due to COVID-19 the international volunteering assignments usually starting to the end of the summer have unfortunately to be suspended in the year 2020.
Here are some examples from recent years:
„Brotes del Sol", Capilla del Monte, Argentina
Christian B. from Radolfzell, Lake Constance, did his voluntary service in Capilla del Monte, a small town in the Argentine province of Cordoba from August 2019 to April 2020. The city is located about 100 km north of the provincial capital Cordoba and about 800 km northwest of the state capital Buenos Aires. There he worked in the facility “Brotes del Sol”, which runs a kindergarten in Capilla del Monte and a kindergarten with school in the neighboring village. His tasks had been to support the teachers in the entire daily routine and to be responsible for looking after children. Due to the corona pandemic, he had to return early.
He was sent by the “Friends of Waldorf Education”.
Theresa D. from Neustadt, Palatinate, started her “Voluntary Social Year” from August 2018 in Hammanskraal, which is about 50 km north of Pretoria. The project she worked on is called “Kwalata Community Development Initiatives”. This organization has set itself the goal of supporting the existing “Kwalata Community” in various areas, especially in the field of education. Theresa’s role was to work in an orphanage for toddlers, to care for sports groups in local kindergartens, to assist children and youth of the “community” in the afternoon care, and to help with gardening and maintenance on the site.
She was sent by “Deutsch-Südafrikanischen Jugendwerk e.V.“
"Centro Cultural Masis", Sucre, Bolivia
Mila S. from Waldsee spends her year 2017/8 as volunteer in the “Centro Cultural Masis” in Sucre. Music and dance have been part of her live for a long time and in different ways. Thus, the “Centro Cultural Masis” is a place where it can support the music education work there well with their skills and talents.
The sending organization is the non-profit association “Bolivien Brücke e.V.“.
"Centro de Desarollo Rural“, San Rafael, Nicaragua
Christoph J. from Ingelheim supported the non-governmental organization “Centro de Desarollo Rural” (short: CEDRU) by teaching physical education classes at a primary school in the San Rafael area from September 2016 to August 2017. The focus was on simple ball games such as football, volleyball or baseball – the national sport of Nicaragua. The founding of school teams was just as much a part of his job as an open sports offer during the holidays.
Together with 4 other volunteers, he was trained by the German association “Internationale Jugendgemeinschaftsdienste (ijgd) Bundesverein e.V.“, which has been sending young people abroad for over 60 years, and supervised them on site in Nicaragua.
"Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio", Guaranda, Ecuador
Sebastian D. from Neustadt, Palatinate, has completed his voluntary service mainly in the city of Guaranda (30,000 inhabitants) in southern Ecuador in the Andes at 2,600 m altitude. The organization, which he supported there from mid-August 2015 to mid-August 2016, is called “Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio (FEPP)”. The main efforts of FEPP aim at supporting the poorest by, for example, developing microfinance systems, educational work in schools and extracurricular institutions with regard to food security, rural living conditions, afforestation measures, environmental programs (in particular waste separation and wastewater/freshwater treatment).
The project was conducted from Germany by the “Welthaus Bielefeld e.V.“.
"Fundacion Cristo Vive", Bella Vista, Bolivia
Daniel B., Neustadt, Palatinate, began his voluntary service in August 2003 at Bella Vista near Cochabamba. This village is located at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters. There he worked for 12 months with children in a kindergarten of the “Fundacion Cristo Vive”.
The sending organization was “amntena e.V.“. The association has set itself the goal of offering people in Latin America a perspective for their future and giving voice to the poor and marginalized.
"Information and Communication Technology" - Education in Guzang/Batibo, Cameroon
Stefan G. from Ludwigshafen at the river Rhine teached the sixth grade in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) at a private “Primary School” and at a state-run “Primary School” in the village of Guzang in West Cameroon. In addition to the official ICT lessons, he together with another volunteer set up a sports program for the students with and worked one or two times a week in a “tree nursery” (a kind of tree nursery for reforestation) of a local NGO.
He was sent from September 2014 to August 2015 by the “Internationalen Bund” (IB)
"Uganda Red Cross Society", Bushenyi, Uganda
Franziska G. from Berlin and Isabelle Z. from Mosbach are two German volunteers who came to the district of Bushenyi in western Uganda as part of the ”weltwärts” program of the Federal Republic of Germany. From August 2013 to June 2014 they have worked for 10 months for the “Uganda Red Cross”. Their main focus was on the conception and implementation of a project in which two microcredit groups were set up, trained and led into a self-employment. This project is still bearing fruit. From the two groups at the beginning have now become twelve.
The “German Red Cross” (DRK) sends volunteers in many countries and offers German volunteers many interesting opportunities for their time abroad.