Want to do voluntary service – but not sure if it’s possible for you? Perhaps you have a disability or particular needs, don’t speak much German or don’t have any qualifications, and you’re wondering: Can I participate in this too? Or you’re currently doing voluntary service, facing barriers and looking for help?
If you want to find out more about your options for doing inclusive voluntary service, we can advise you. We can recommend suitable aid and support services and connect you with cooperation partners and services from our network. We help you with applications for participation and support benefits, such as sign language interpreters, transport services or personal assistance.
Do you have any questions? Get in touch!
Consultations for volunteers and interested parties:
We provide consultations by phone, chat, email and video call! Tel. Office hours: Wednesdays, 2 pm - 5 pm
Phone: 030 24636-457 or -464
Chat: 0162 4601916
Contact: Mr Timothy Redfern (he)
Feel free to call us during office hours (Wednesday from 2 - 5 pm) or contact us by email or chat to arrange an appointment!
Do you have a specific problem or concern, and are you wondering if we can help you? Our FAQs provide important answers to frequently asked questions.
Voluntary service? What is it?
Volunteer services are state-funded learning and educational services that offer you the opportunity to gain a variety of insights into working and living environments, while also making a contribution to society. Voluntary service promotes personal strengths and interests, while teaching new skills and knowledge for future careers and life. As a volunteer, you invest both your time and energy for a period of six to 18 months. You perform the service in a social, cultural, or ecological placement or sports facility, receive an allowance for your work and are covered by the social security system. For a 12-month voluntary service, you also receive a minimum of 20 days leave. In principle, it is also possible to do part-time voluntary service with at least 20 hours per week. You will be supported by an educational specialist during the voluntary service. You will also spend 25 days in educational seminars, learning more about yourself, current issues and societal aspects.
In Germany, there are the Youth Volunteer Services “Voluntary Social Year” (FSJ, short for “Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr”) and “Voluntary Ecological Year” (FÖJ, short for “Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr”), which are open to young people under the age of 27 as well as the Federal Voluntary Service (BFD), open to all age groups.
How do I find a volunteering opportunity?
On the website freiwillig-ja.de, you can search for a placement in your area and in your preferred field. Here, you can also learn more about the different options for participating in volunteer services. You’ll also find information on the different fields in which you can do voluntary service.
Volunteering with a disability? Not a problem.
A disability does not preclude you from voluntary service! Voluntary service is also possible with special needs. We can support you if you have particular needs and want to do voluntary service. We advise you and your provider or placement, connect you with assistance services and help you apply for participation or support benefits, if applicable.
Are there special volunteer services for people with disabilities? Yes – throughout Germany!
People with disabilities can participate in regular volunteer services, including with additional assistance or support. You do not need to limit your search to special programmes aimed at inclusion. Some providers in Germany offer special projects and opportunities for volunteers with disabilities. This often includes intensive educational support and inclusive placements. On our “Network” page, you can find a list of various options for inclusive volunteer services for people with disabilities. But:
Voluntary service for queer people? No problem!
For some people, dealing with their gender identity or sexual orientation is a challenge, as they fear discrimination. Voluntary service is open to ALL people. Voluntary service should be a safe space for queer and gender diverse people too, where all volunteers can explore and grow. We advise providers and organisations on how to sensitively handle gender diversity and the everyday lives of queer people in order to create a non-discriminatory and queer-friendly environment in volunteer services.
New to Germany and want to practise your German more in everyday life? Do voluntary service!
Even if you’re new to Germany or don’t speak much German, you can perform voluntary service. Voluntary service offers an opportunity to practise German in everyday life during seminars and placements, meet new friends and try out a professional field in Germany. To do voluntary service, you need either a visa (residence permit) or a work permit if you are undergoing an asylum process. You can apply for this at the relevant immigration authority. The Coordination Hub cannot offer advice on the right of residence or your options to apply for voluntary service from abroad. We support providers, helping them to better adapt their services to volunteers with migrant and refugee backgrounds or little knowledge of German.