Our association sees itself as a social actor which through concrete actions in a small context would like to initiate change on the level of society as a whole. Through the encounters created between people from different cultural backgrounds our volunteering program enables the dismantling of prejudices and a change in perspective on one’s own way of life.
Thanks to the weltwärts-Programme, the voluntary service which is part of the development agenda of the German government, young Germans have the opportunity to spend a year in a country of the Global South with minimal financial effort on their side. There is supposed to be an intercultural exchange between the volunteers and the local society from which both sides profit equally.
Our association was founded by returning weltwärts volunteers whose service only partially lived up to this demand. We are of the opinion that one may only get to know another culture in its full depth and diversity after having actually lived in this culture for a longer period of time. We are therefore organising one year voluntary services in charitable projects for people from the Global South in Germany.
Through the inversion of the ordinary volunteering practice we would like to set a sign for equal participation in which the North does not decide over the cooperation with the South. By cooperating with partners in the sending countries of the volunteers that act self-dependently, we want to avoid applying our western viewpoint to the selection of the volunteers as well as their preparation and debriefing after their stay. We merely provide the framework to the completion of a voluntary service in Germany and support the partner organisation if so wished for, with activities in the sending country.
This programme structure is the practical expression of our rejection of the customary development conception, which is based on the superiority and progressiveness of the western world. We do not want to patronize people from the Global South, but instead offer them the opportunity to self-determinedly get to know other countries.
We are taking a step in the direction of equal opportunities and global justice and are starting to leave institutional racism and intolerance behind us. We are stepping up for the idea of One World in which borders are not obstacles.