Volunteer work is closely linked with social, civic and intercultural competences, with critical thinking and with the fight against discrimination, segregation, racism and violence. Volunteer work has an economic value, increases social well-being and social prosperity. Lots of volunteers life the European values and stand for it. They are active citizens and contribute to the civil society in Europe.
Democracies thrive from the engagement of their citizens, their readiness to help in society, to feel a part of it and to take over responsibility. With other words: Democracies need volunteers!
In 2011 the European Year of Volunteering was designated. Since then the number of volunteers grew up, but by far not as much as expected. There are remarkable differences of volunteering between the european countries, influenced by their tradition, politics and history. Statistical data about volunteering are different in the european countries and often not sufficient to reflect the real situation. There exist already European programmes like the European Voluntary Service that provide opportunities for volunteering for young people. Nevertheless, transnational exchange, promotion and education campagnes are needed in Europe in order to raise awareness among persons of all ages, organisations and companies for voluntary activities and its great benefits.

It was the main objective of the project to get a picture of the current situation of the voluntary sector on local and regional level and to introduce examples of best practice to a larger audience on national and transnational level.

The Volunteers4Europe project enabled an interesting exchange about volunteering in Estonia, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden through international exhibitions already during the project period. The project teams hope that this project will enable them to both acknowledge and make visible the work of the countless volunteers. At the same time they would like to encourage people of all ages to volunteer with many interesting examples of volunteering.

In the Volunteers-4-Europe e-book you will find all photo reportages that the project teams have carried out during the two-years project.

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