In Belgium there are several opportunities where one can dedicate his or her skills and time as a volunteer. In return these places often offer a valuable experience that can be enriching for one’s personal and professional development. The following volunteer opportunities in Belgium range from the area of social entrepreneurship to the state archives.
1. Ashoka Belgium
Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide and Ashoka Belgium was established in 2007. As the world is changing rapidly it is important, according to Ashoka, that everyone will become a changemaker to create a better world for everyone. Ashoka has different programmes, for example, Venture, Fellowship and Changemaker Schools, that can contribute to this goal.
Emily Darigo is working on Changemaker Schools as a volunteer since August 2015. “Thus far, my experience with Ashoka has certainly been an eye opening experience! The best part of the internship is being able to connect with people from all over the globe and contributing, not just to the office in Brussels, but the overall Ashoka network.”
Contact: email@example.com / +32 2 675 22 19
2. Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen
The aim of Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen (Flemish Refugee Action) is to support refugees and asylum seekers. They are always looking for enthusiastic people who will do their best to help refugees and asylum seekers. At their Startpunt Vluchtelingenwerk hands out soup and gives information to asylum seekers on their first day in Belgium. For this work the organisation often needs volunteers who speak certain languages, like Arabic, Farsi or Russian.
Liesbeth Viane is a volunteer for the organisation and notes that: “I was looking for work, but wanted to do something meaningful in the meantime. That is why I applied at Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen. I have the feeling that I can make a contribution. And besides that I am also learning a lot.”
Where: Brussels/ Flanders
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / +32 2 225 44 00
3. DUO for a JOB
DUO for a JOB is looking to connect immigrant youth, searching for a job, with professionals over fifty who will support them in their search for work. The aim of the organisation is to ensure that everyone will have equal opportunities in their access to employment. Before the duo’s pair up a mentor will receive a four-day training, afterwards the mentor will support his/her mentee a few hours a week for a half year.
Chantal is a volunteer mentor and says about her involvement: “Along the way, trust is built, friendship arises, and each encounter becomes a pleasure. No need to be an expert in anything, each one contributes in his own way. Sometimes the situation is reversed, and in the end, you no longer know who supported whom. What an experience!”
Contact: email@example.com / +32 2 203 02 31
4. Plan Belgium
Plan Belgium is a part of Plan International, that is active in 69 countries. Plan Belgium has 8 partner countries, namely: Benin, Niger, Togo, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The organisation is making an effort for vulnerable children in developing countries. In Belgium the organisation is trying to sensitize the public and to put the topic of children’s rights on the agenda of politicians, the media and schools.
Volunteers can perform different tasks as for example translating. Some of these tasks require specific language requirements as French and/or Dutch.
Where: Brussels/ Flanders
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / +32 2 504 60 32
5. Jane Goodall Institute
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in Belgium is a part of JGO Global. The organisation works in chimpanzee conservation, research and environmental education. The office in Belgium is run entirely by volunteers and to become part of the team you have to be passionate about JGI’s mission and vision and be able to dedicate some time and participate in their regular volunteer meetings. The tasks vary, from translating to coordinating various events.
Magali, a volunteer for over 3 years tells: “It was Jane Goodall’s name which first attracted my attention. (…) I was fascinated by the great apes. Subsequently, I quickly realised that JGI did much more than just raise awareness about chimpanzees and protect them. I quickly came to appreciate the eclectic and international nature of the work. (…) For example, I’ve translated some texts, manned stands at various events but I’ve also picked up rubbish in a Brussels neighbourhood, wearing Bruxelles Propreté gear, I’ve paraded a giant peace dove around the Grande Place for International Peace Day and there are lots of other activities that I haven’t yet had a chance to try. To put it in a nutshell, I think there is something for everyone and everyone can contribute. Actually, that’s one of Jane Goodall’s messages: everyone makes a difference. Everyone, every day, can choose to act in a positive manner. I like that philosophy! (…)”
Contact: email@example.com / + 32 2 893 25 02
6. State Archives of Belgium
The State Archives of Belgium are preserving and managing 300 kilometres of archives and have a history of working with volunteers. The volunteers are often people with a passion for history. There are different tasks volunteers can carry out as describing archives, packaging and labelling them or performing library work. Interested people can contact the repository of their choice (to be found on the website) for opportunities and more information.
Where: Different places across Belgium
Contact: Depends on the repository.