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The South-North Program is the developmental volunteer service for young people from South Africa in Germany.

The South-North Exchange, an extension and component to the weltwärts program, gives young people from the Global South the opportunity to volunteer with a non-profit organization in Germany. This promotes equal exchange between partners from the Global South and the Global North and strengthens the partnership.

The South-North Volunteer Service is supported and largely financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ). The host organization’s own contribution is 25%. Furthermore, the legal provisions of the Federal Volunteer Service (BFD) apply.

In January 2016, we enabled two volunteers from the environment of our South African partner organization TLF to do a voluntary service for the first time. You can read a report about a short trip to Germany, which Dimakatso and Innocent undertook together with volunteers from friends, here.

Through our South-North program we promote

  • the partnership on eye level and friendship between TLF and Friends e.V.,
  • the personal development of the volunteers in a non-formal learning process,
  • the strengthening of civil society in Germany and South Africa through multiplier effects and the commitment of the volunteers before, during and after their voluntary service, and
  • set impulses for the development policy work in Germany, because through the exchange with volunteers from the global south, the confrontation with development policy contexts is achieved

We support and encourage our South African volunteers through the educational accompaniment of their learning service, interpersonal encounters, intercultural exchange as well as knowledge and experience transfer.

The introduction of the South-North component gives weltwärts an expansion, which emphasizes the developmental claim of the exchange service even more clearly. The idea of equal partnership between civil society organizations of the global South and the global North is strengthened sustainably and new impulses for mutual and global learning are set.

For more info:

Soon you will find more information about our volunteers and volunteer positions.

If you would like to financially support the South-North-Program in the form of a donation or for example a monthly ticket for the public transport, we would be very happy about it. As an honorary association we depend on donations to be able to realize the exchange.

Do you have any questions? Or are you interested in making a small contribution as a donor? You are welcome to contact us by email and we will answer your request.

Blessing and Nina are doing their voluntary service at Rotenburger Werke as part of the South-North program since November 2023. We interviewed the two of them and asked them a few questions.

What motivated you to apply for the voluntary service?
I have a passion for community service and community-based projects. So this was an opportunity for serving and giving back.
Nina: It was my friend who also applied with me.

How did you feel before coming to Germany?
I was a bit anxious about what it would it be or feel like being a foreigner and if people would be welcoming. I was also worried about being far from my family.
Nina: I was scared but very excited.

What did your family and friends say about you being away for a year?
Blessing: They believed it’s a great opportunity for growth and it will help me find a firmer foundation for my passion.
They were happy but very worried for me to leave the country.

How were your early days in Germany and have you settled in well since then?
Blessing: I started work immediately on arrival and colleagues were welcoming and accommodative. The group we work with was also amazing and made it easy for us to communicate while learning the language.
It was exciting to be in a new place and I was very happy

Have you already been able to get to know your living environment and the country a little? What are your impressions so far?Blessing: Not too much but so far the place is beautiful but the people are not too social and are distant. There are some people who are open and kind.
I met a lot of people in my time so far in Germany and all of them are great people. Germany is a very safe place.

What does your day-to-day work look like and what are your tasks?
Blessing: We assist the residents with waking up, showering, preparing breakfast, going for walks, fun activities and also we assist some with going to the toilet.
Nina: I work with elder people and I take care of them by helping them with anything they need assistance with.

How do you like your work so far?
Blessing: I love the job and I would love to pursue it as a career.
Nina: I am working in a very safe, comfortable work space. It is very great, my work people are all very nice and helpful.

What has been your best experience so far since you’ve been in Germany?
Blessing: Getting to know the place and meeting new people. I also love that I am doing something I’m passionate about and it’s a big blessing to me.
Meeting so many people and travelling within Germany.

Are there or were there any challenges that you had to face? Is there anything that particularly surprised you?
Blessing: At first it was the language and the cold in winter. I was also surprised by the lack of socialising.
Learning German is a very big challenge for me.

What would you like to take away from your voluntary service, both personally and professionally?
Blessing: I would like to be more confident in the work and I would like to learn and get better at the language.
To continue giving back in my community and to keep working in this program.