It is very important to explain what it means to volunteer: to work for a voluntary organization without receiving a salary. German volunteering has a long tradition, and today there are about 31 million people involved, and what do they do? They can work in humanitarian organizations such as the German Red Cross, or help elderly and sick people.
Today there are many organizations created in the 1970s for peace, for the integration of immigrants, or, more generally, for young people. For example, the Hilfe ggmbh association seeks volunteers who wish to work in an institution for adults with mental disabilities: they must help people with disabilities in their daily lives.
Every German citizen who has attended school can perform a federal voluntary service and commit to the common good. The duration is generally one year, but can also last only 6 months or up to 18 months. It is called “federal voluntary service”, also known by the acronym “bufdi” or “BFD”, and is a voluntary activity in many sectors. The BFD is open to all those who have attended school and there is no upper age limit. It is a committed political project: to create a new culture of volunteering in Germany and to allow many people to commit themselves to the common good.
But why volunteer? The reasons are personal and different. In general, you can act and do good. For example, young people have a desire to have something in common with others or have the opportunity to acquire new skills. Older people also work without pay because they want to pass on their knowledge to others and want to do useful work that is different from traditional work.