Welfare services and volunteering
Many millions of people have now worked on behalf of refugees on a voluntary basis. They are assisted by welfare services, among others, that organise and coordinate projects.
The welfare agencies look after and advise refugees and asylum seekers nationwide (providing asylum and migration advice). In some districts and cities the local authority itself also takes on the advisory role.
These welfare services offer individual professional advice to asylum seekers and those who are entitled to remain in the country on a permanent basis.
They actively promote integration by offering assistance to asylum seekers and refugees and organising and coordinating many different non-profit-making projects aimed at integration.
If you would like to volunteer, contact one of your local welfare agencies, the coordination centres for civic participation or the professional coordinators in the districts and urban municipalities. City and local councils, church communities or voluntary agencies often also recruit volunteers. Furthermore, in almost every town and city there are support networks and private initiatives that welcome committed volunteers.
In Bavaria, 47% of people over the age of 14 volunteer. This equates to around 5.2 million citizens. They play their part in ensuring successful integration.
The Free State of Bavaria is making a total of 2.5 million euros available to professional coordination agencies in 2017 in order to further support the extraordinary work undertaken by the volunteers on behalf of asylum seekers on a financial and organisational level by creating the necessary underlying conditions. By doing so, the Free State of Bavaria is establishing contact points and networking opportunities within the communities.
These professional coordinators are funded throughout the entire Free State of Bavaria. Such coordination centres have thus far been set up in 25 districts and urban municipalities.
From 2017 Bavaria will also fund professional integration guides throughout the state as well as the training of voluntary integration assistants.
The idea is for the integration guides to support the voluntary integration assistants, who in turn will provide informal assistance ‘on a level playing field’ to those who are entitled to remain in the country on a permanent basis. Among other things, they will teach the values and standards by which our society lives and help people to put down roots in their new homeland. The voluntary integration assistants should be able to provide information and help in many different areas of society. For instance, they can give initial information about the education system, nursery facilities or schools as well as the German health-care system; they can help people to look for accommodation and employment and suggest ideas on how to spend their free time and improve their social integration. The idea in the longer term is to bring together the professional coordinators and the professional integration guides.
If you want to find out more about the subjects of volunteering and integration, you will not only find links on our website, but also numerous ideas and examples of successful civic participation in the area of integration. Take a look!