Voluntary social year

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The voluntary social year in Austria[1] and Germany[2] (German Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr, abbr. FSJ) is a state-funded voluntary work program particularly for young adults. It can last between six and eighteen months and also be spent working abroad. Before compulsory military or civilian service was abandoned in Germany, the FSJ could be used as a replacement if the service duration was at least twelve months.

The idea behind this voluntary social year has its origin in the Protestant and Roman Catholic church by organizing a diaconical year. In 1964 the German parliament conducted a law, that became the basis of the platform, that supplies officially certified organizations and government institutions with volunteers.

Possible locations are numerous and are all social, charitable or of public utility.

  • Services for disabled people
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Foster homes
  • Preservation of historic monuments
  • Ambulatory services
  • Youth welfare services
  • Church communities
  • Emergency medical services
  • Children homes
  • Old people´s homes

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