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South-North Volunteer Year 2023/2024 – The Preparatory Seminar in Altena

On September 1, an exciting chapter began for our South-North volunteers in Germany. They will be doing voluntary service here for a year in various locations as part of the BMZ’s South-North weltwärts program. They are currently taking part in the introductory seminar, which is being held in Altena. Under the guidance of coordinator Claudia and other team members, they will not only get to know the German culture during the next 10 days, but also make international friends and gain insights into different cultures.

A journey of cultures: During the introductory seminar, the volunteers from Peru, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala will have the opportunity to experience German culture first hand. But this seminar offers more than just cultural exchange. It also creates a platform for international friendships and the exchange of experiences and perspectives.

Highlight: Ritterburg Altena: A special highlight of the seminar will be the excursion to Ritterburg Altena. Here, the volunteers will take a “knight’s test” that will not only be fun, but will also strengthen their team spirit and give them unforgettable memories.

Preparation for the year in Germany: In addition to cultural exchange, practical topics are also on the seminar schedule. Volunteers receive German lessons to improve their language skills and learn how to get around in Germany. They learn more about the importance of volunteer service and how to find their way in their new environment. German holidays and traditions are also addressed to help them integrate holistically.

Living in host families and engaging in Germany: During their stay in Germany, volunteers will live in host families, which is a unique opportunity to experience the German culture and way of life up close. Their work will take them to different areas, including botanical gardens and facilities for people with disabilities. They are ready to contribute and learn from the ensemble sites.

With this introductory seminar, our volunteers are well prepared for their exciting year in Germany. We look forward to their adventures, experiences and stories they will gather in the coming months!

Our preparation for the volunteer service in the Dominican Republic

Our North-South volunteers have been preparing for an unforgettable adventure – a whole year in the Dominican Republic to do voluntary service with the Ecoselva association as part of the BMZ Weltwärts program. But before they set off on their journey, an intensive preparatory seminar was on the agenda. In the idyllic youth hostel Lauterbach, better known as the “Urwald Life Camp”, they spent 10 days full of intercultural programs and fun. Let’s take a look at their preparation trip.

Intercultural exchange at Lauterbach Youth Hostel: Lauterbach Youth Hostel was the perfect place for our volunteers to get in the mood for their upcoming adventure. Here they met like-minded people, made friends and deepened their knowledge about the Dominican Republic. Intercultural programs helped deepen their understanding of the local culture and people.

10 days that changed everything: During the seminar, our volunteers were sent on a journey that was both educational and fun. Not only did they learn the basics for their assignment in the Dominican Republic, but they also experienced the importance of teamwork and cohesion. A community was formed here that will be invaluable for the coming year.

The Art of Intercultural Understanding: One of the main focuses of the preparation seminar was intercultural understanding. Our volunteers learned the importance of respecting cultural differences and adapting to their host families’ way of life. This will not only strengthen their ability to work together, but also broaden their perspective on the world.

Living with Host Families: During their stay in the Dominican Republic, our volunteers will live with host families. This experience will not only enhance their intercultural skills, but will also provide a deep insight into everyday local life. There will be moments of challenge, but also moments of happiness and realization.

A call for change: our volunteers are not only travelers, but also ambassadors of change. They are ready to use their knowledge and energy for a better world. We are confident that with great commitment and heart, they will bring positive change to the communities in which they will work.

We would like to wish our volunteers all the best for their exciting year in the Dominican Republic. May the experience be fulfilling and educational, and may they have a lasting impact on the world. We will be with them every step of the way and are always available for questions and support.

We are proud of you, dear North-South volunteers, and we look forward to hearing your stories of your journey of change.

Preparing for the adventure: voluntary service in Peru and India

Our volunteers have been preparing for an unforgettable adventure – a year of service to the communities in Peru and India. But before they started their journey, an intensive preparatory seminar was on the agenda. This seminar not only sharpened their skills and knowledge, but also laid the foundation for friendships and collaboration. Here we take a look at their journey of preparation.

Preparing for two countries: the seminar was attended by young adults who chose both Peru and India for their volunteer service. Although the countries and cultures are different, we intentionally integrated both groups into one preparation seminar. This decision not only strengthened the bonds within their own group, but also promoted exchange between the volunteers who went to different parts of the world.

The importance of intercultural exchange: The preparatory seminar not only offered the opportunity to be prepared for the challenges of service, but also the chance to prepare for intercultural exchange. In Peru and India, our volunteers will live in shared apartments or directly with partner organizations, rather than with host families. Therefore, one focus was on understanding and working with the local partner organizations.

On a journey of discovery in Peru and India: Part of the seminar provides for the volunteers to get to know the partner organizations in Germany. Here they gained valuable insights into their work and missions. This preparation in Germany helped them to prepare for their future tasks and to better understand their role in the missions.

Journey together to return: The preparation seminar was not only the start of their journey, but also the prelude to adventures to come. Our volunteers will return after their year of service for a joint returnee seminar. Here they will have the opportunity to share their experiences and stories, not only with their own groups, but also with those who have gone to other countries. These moments of exchange will certainly help to deepen friendships and broaden understanding of the world.

With this intensive preparation seminar and their determination, our volunteers are now ready to begin their year. We are proud of them and look forward to hearing their stories of their journey of personal transformation.

And remember, we are ambassadors of our own story :).

Arrival in the Dominican Republic

The excitement reached its peak when our North-South volunteers finally arrived in the Dominican Republic. Here they were warmly welcomed by our country coordinator, Nikaulis. Nikaulis, who is an indispensable resource for our volunteers on the ground, ensured a smooth transition and gave them their first glimpse of life in the Dominican Republic.

On-site training:
Our volunteers completed another 5-day on-site seminar. This seminar provided an opportunity to deepen the knowledge they had acquired and prepare for the challenges ahead. It was a time of learning, sharing and growth.

Meeting with partners:
One of the highlights of the seminar was the opportunity to meet our partner organizations in person. Our volunteers gained insight into the work and missions of the organizations where they would be serving in the coming months. These meetings created a strong foundation for cooperation and understanding between the volunteers and their mission sites.

Visit to the German Embassy in Santo Domingo:
Another highlight during their stay in the Dominican Republic was the visit to the German Embassy in Santo Domingo. This experience allowed our volunteers to gain insight into the diplomatic relations between Germany and the Dominican Republic and to learn more about the work of the Embassy.

With this intensive on-site preparation seminar, our volunteers not only developed their skills and knowledge, but also built valuable relationships. They are now ready to throw themselves fully into their places of assignment and make a lasting contribution.

Our appreciation and support continue to go out to our dedicated volunteers. We look forward to hearing their adventures, experiences and stories in the months ahead.

Arrival in Peru and India: Start of the voluntary service 2023/2024

Our volunteers prepared for an unforgettable adventure – a year in Peru or India. After an intensive preparation seminar in Germany, they were ready to start their journey. But the adventure really began when they arrived at their assignment locations. Here we take a look at their arrival and the first steps in their new lives.

Arrival in Peru: For our volunteers who had chosen Peru, the adventure already began at the end of August when they left Germany. In Peru they were warmly welcomed by our country coordinator, Doris. Doris is an important contact person on site and makes sure that the volunteers have a good start in their placement. Together they spent time in Lima, the capital of Peru, and attended another seminar to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of their year of service.

Traveling to outreach sites in Peru: After the seminar, our volunteers set out to travel to their outreach sites. These locations are diverse, from the majestic Andes Mountains to the rich rainforests of the Amazon. Their travels were not only an opportunity to discover the scenic diversity of Peru, but also to prepare for their work in the various partner organizations.

Arrival in India: For our volunteers who had chosen India, the adventure also began at the end of August when they left Germany. In India they were received by our coordinator, Joyti. Joyti is an experienced contact person and makes sure that the volunteers are well taken care of in India. Upon arrival, they had the opportunity to get acclimated to Indian life and culture.

The journey to the outreach sites in India: After arriving in India, our volunteers embarked on the journey to their outreach sites and partner organizations. India is a country of diversity, from bustling metropolises to remote villages. During their travels, they were able to experience the unique facets of this fascinating country and prepare for their work in the various communities.

These arrivals mark the beginning of an exciting year of service to the communities.

Insights into the interim seminar 2022

From 04-08 April 2022, the interim seminar of the North-South India volunteers took place in Udaipur. Besides the volunteers, our country mentor Jyoti, the former South-North volunteer Anushka and the speaker Philippe from Welthungerhilfe India were present.

The volunteers shared their experiences so far and there was a detailed talk about the cross-cultural experiences of the volunteers. They also worked out the volunteers’ goals and ambitions for the next few months.

One seminar day, Philippe gave a detailed workshop on food systems in India.