Voluntary Social Year/ Voluntary Ecological Year
The Voluntary Social Year in Germany (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr – FSJ) is a voluntary service that lasts between 6 and 18 months. Organisations in which an FSJ can be served, are usually focused on environmental issues, young people and children, cultural or political issues. Under www.pro-fsj.de you can search for accredited organisations in Germany. Similar to the FSJ ist the FÖJ (Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr) – a voluntary ecological year which deals with environmental issues. It has an educational as well as an orientation purpose for young people between the age of 16 and 27. You can only serve an FSJ/FÖJ once and it usually lasts for 12 months.
The FSJ/FÖJ are both financed and realized by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), as well as by the federal states and several agencies. In the context of this voluntary year, the agencies organize five seminars per year which are obligatory to each participant.
Young people interested in culture have the possibility to serve a FSJ-Kultur (www.fsjkultur.de) – a voluntary year dedicated to cultural topics and cultural education. Furthermore, the FSJ can be specialised in sports, politics and preservation of monuments.
The association FÖJ has compiled specific information about the FÖJ on www.foej.de. Further information about volunteering possibilities in ecological projects can be found under www.eco-jobs.info/en.
There are two German organisations which are specialised on so-called reverse services and invite foreign volunteers to Germany: SoFiA e.V. - Soziale Friedensdienste im Ausland (www.sofia-trier.de/dienst-in-deutschland/einsatzstellen-in-deutschland) and Internationaler Bund Kassel (www.internationaler-bund.org/en).
All accredited organisations for FSJ/FÖJ can be found in the list of FSJ-FÖJ-Anlaufstellen (PDF, 591 KB) by the BMFSFJ.