Volunteering is taking up an activity, spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the community, an organization, or someone who you are not closely related to. Volunteering can give a sense of belonging and foster a community spirit. It is a good way to integrate and feel at home in your adopted country.
Everybody can do volunteering as from the year in which you turn 16 years. Having the Belgian nationality is not mandatory. All E.E.A. nationals and persons with a valid residence permit can do volunteering.
- Determine which type of volunteering suits you best: What are my goals and expectations? How much time do I have and when can I make myself available? What kind of tasks would I like to undertake? Which skills can I offer? What do I find interesting?
- Search for a volunteering opportunity that matches your skills, interests and availability.
- Volunteering jobs are interwoven in Belgian society, as well in big organizations like the Red Cross, WWF, as small local associations like the local youth association, the local hospital, the local museum, etc. You can contact them directly or you can search on the internet to find an interesting volunteering opportunity:
- Database of opportunities in Flanders: www.vrijwilligerswerk.be
- Database of opportunities in Leuven: www.leuven.be/vrijwilligerswerk-leuven. The database is in Dutch only, but scroll down and select "Nederlands niet vereist" to filter out volunteering options that do not require knowledge of Dutch.
- Opportunities at stad Leuven (Dutch only): www.leuven.be/vrijwilliger
- Leuven chapter of international volunteering organisation Serve the City: www.servethecityleuven.be/
- Opportunities in Brussels: www.servethecity.brussels/ or www.idealist.org
- You will find a lot of different opportunities on the Internet, as there are many organizations that would welcome your help. It is advisable to find out what the organization is trying to accomplish and how their volunteering program works. Every organization that works with volunteers has to provide information to its volunteers before they start for example about insurance cover and which expenses are (potentially) reimbursed. Ask!
- To protect you as a volunteer, there is a legal framework of volunteering. More information about your rights and obligations as a volunteer can be found here (Dutch only).
Suppliers, channels and tools
Need more information or help finding an appropriate volunteering organization?
Internationals living/working in the Leuven region, wanting to volunteer