European Voluntary Service (EVS)

Come and experience EVS volunteering in Finland!

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) offers a great way to participate in creating grass-root level contacts and understanding among people with different kinds of backgrounds. You will also get a chance to learn new skills.

We welcome EVS volunteers for periods of 6–12 months. Many of our the volunteers work in the educational field or with disabled people – in folk high schools or workshops of disabled people, for instance.

“One thing is for sure: I would highly recommend doing a voluntary year, because it really broadens your horizons and it is really worth it, because I’ve got more aware of the real values in life!” – Elisabeth, EVS volunteer from Austria

EVS is carried out and financed by the European Union in the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. Maailmanvaihto participates in the EVS as a coordinating organization.

Most of our EVS volunteers begin their projects in August or September. We prepare EVS project funding applications for these voluntary work periods in January and March. We apply for the funding from the Finnish National Agency of the Erasmus+ programme.

EVS voluntary workplaces

We coordinate EVS periods in these voluntary workplaces (click the name for further information):

Validia ammattiopisto (Validia Vocational College)

VALIDIA is an educational institution which provides vocational education and training for students with special needs and rehabilitative instruction and guidance for disabled students. It has some 600 students and some 280 staff members. Validia was established in 1948 and it is owned by the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities (FPD). Location: Validia Vocational College is situated in Järvenpää (35 000 inhabitants), about 40 km North from Helsinki. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: Validia offers many kinds of tasks for a volunteer interested in supporting students with special needs. The tasks may include assisting and helping the students, supporting teachers with different classes, as well as organising free time activities for the students. The main thing for the volunteer is the motivation to cooperate and support the disabled students to succeed in their studies and everyday life. It is also important that the volunteer has at least basic English knowledge – and the motivation to learn Finnish language! Accommodation: The volunteer will be accommodated in the student dormitory for most of the time. During school holidays when the dormitory is closed, the volunteer stays with local support family.

Metsähallitus / Koli National Park and Koli Nature Centre Ukko

KOLI NATIONAL PARK is one of Finland’s 39 national parks, which are run by Metsähallitus. Koli’s hills, lakes and forests provide a beautiful scenery for enjoyable outdoor activities at any time of year. The Nature Centre is the heart of the activities and the volunteer tasks in the national park. The nature centre Ukko offers hiking and tourist information services, guided tours, national park rental hut bookings, conference services and there is also a small café. Location: Koli is located in Eastern Finland in the municipality of Lieksa. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: Tasks vary a lot from customer service tasks in the nature centre to conservation volunteering or construction work in the nature. We are looking for outdoor-oriented volunteers, who are interested in the Finnish nature and motivated to work outside in different seasons. As a volunteer you might be able to conduct small development project for the nature centre, your day might start with a group if people wanting to get to know the nature centre or you might also get to help at the cafeteria every once in a while. If you have good photography skills or other interests in developing your medias, we are glad to welcome your expertise. All the volunteering tasks are planned with the volunteer as you start. Moderate English skills are required. The work involves often physical labor in field conditions and the volunteer should be able to adopt to a variety of tasks. Our protected areas are located in remote places, where are no good public transportation, so we are looking for outdoor-oriented volunteers. It is important that the volunteer is motivated to live surrounded by nature and is oriented to live through the different seasons in Finland: also the long, dark and cold winter. Accommodation: The volunteer will be offered modest accommodation in a house within walking distance from the nature Centre Ukko. The participant must be able to adapt in modest living conditions. organization in the EU’s EVS database

Lehtimäen opisto (Lehtimäki Special Folk High School)

LEHTIMÄKI FOLK HIGH SCHOOL is a boarding school for youth and adults with special needs. The school offers 70 places for students and there are more than 100 different short term courses for disabled youth, adults and elderly as well as their families. The school also offers rehabilitation courses such as riding therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Some training is aimed at increasing the occupational capacities of the people through, for example, computer literacy training. Location: Lehtimäki Special Folk High School is situated in Lehtimäki, a small village situated some 60 km away from the city of Seinäjoki. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: The main task of the volunteers is to interact students with special needs during their lessons and leisure time, as well as to help them in their daily routines. The volunteers can also organize free-time activities for the mentally disabled students. Helping the kitchen staff also belongs to the tasks of the volunteers. It is important that the volunteers has motivation to work with people with special needs as well as good social skills and an open attitude. The voluntary workplace is especially looking for volunteers who have knowledge on horseback riding and stable work as well as volunteers with a musical background. The volunteers should also be willing to work in different kinds of tasks and to live in a small village in the country side. Accommodation: The volunteers live in an apartment. organization in the EU’s EVS database

Sippolan koulukoti (Sippola Residential School)

SIPPOLA RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL provides holistic rehabilitation, education and care for highly challenging youth aged between 15 and 18 years. In the school there is a place for 33 children and most of the pupils are also accommodated in Sippola. Most of the children come from families with social problems and other challenges, and also the kids have different behavioral and mental problems. Sippola Residential School has a team of 65 staff members, whose aim is to provide education and safe environment for growing for these young people with fewer opportunities. Also working with the families is very important in Sippola. Location: Sippola Residential School is situated in the southeast part of Finland in the village of Sippola, which is part of Kouvola commune. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: Volunteer works as an assistant for the teachers and staff in providing the kids with education and care. Tasks vary from helping the teacher in the school classes, participating in the free-time activities with the youth, for example hobbies and household tasks like cooking. Work tasks vary according to volunteers skills, age and experience. Volunteer should be motivated to work with young people with difficult backgrounds and to be prepared for social tasks. The volunteers should be motivated to work with youth with difficult backgrounds and to be prepared for social tasks. Good social skills and experience on youth work or social work are of a great value. Age limit minimum 20 years. Accommodation: Accommodation is in the project.

Kisälli-Harjulanmäki

KISÄLLI-HARJULANMÄKI has two main activities: it has a nursing home called “Harjulanmäki” for mentally disabled people and a workshop called “Kisälli” which provides art and work therapy for disabled people. Location: Kisälli-Harjulanmäki is situated in Vihti, a small town located some 50 kilometers away from the city of Helsinki. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: The volunteers help disabled people in their daily activities at the Kisälli arts&crafts workshop and at the Harjulanmäki home. The work includes both artistic work and practical personal assisting (for example with eating and daily hygiene).The volunteers need to have interest in creative arts&crafts work as well as motivation to work with people with special needs. Accommodation: The volunteers live in an apartment. organization in the EU’s EVS database

English Playschool of Kangasala

IN THE ENGLISH PLAYSCHOOL OF KANGASALA the volunteer works in an English language playschool for children aged 3 to 6 years. Location: The English playschool of Kangasala is situated in Kangasala, a small municipality situated some 20 km away from the city of Tampere. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: The volunteer need to have interest to work with young children and participate in the routine work of kindergarten and organize activities for the kids. Interest to learn Finnish language, since not all the children speak English. Accommodation: The volunteer stays with a Finnish host family. Flexibility and motivation to live in a host family and to interact with the family members are needed. organization in the EU’s EVS database

Vanhamäki Activity Centre

VANHAMÄKI is an activity centre in Suonenjoki, which is a small rural town of some 7 500 inhabitants, situated in the central Finland. Vanhamäki provides different kinds of activities for visitors and it also runs organic farm, horse stables and a foster home. The centre produces organic berries and vegetables and the products are also sold in the little shop. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: Volunteering tasks vary according to the season: in the summer time the volunteers work more in Vanhamäki and in the autumn and spring there is more cooperation with other local organizations, such as local folk academy, association of unemployed people and a school. At Vanhamäki the volunteers assist in different kinds of tasks, both outdoors and indoors. They take part in organic farming and maintenance work of the park area. Volunteers also assist in planning and carrying out events in Vanhamäki according to their skills and interests. The volunteers can also carry out tasks in the office and kitchen, as well as at the horse stables of the activity centre.
It is important that the volunteer enjoys both practical and social work tasks. It is good to have an interest in organic farming and nature. Accommodation: The volunteers are accommodated in the Vanhamäki centre in a single room, shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. Vanhamäki is situated in the countryside surroundings, by a lake. organization in the EU’s EVS database

Myllylähde-yhteisö (Myllylähde Community)

MYLLYLÄHDE is a village community with adults with special needs. It is a part of the international Camphill movement which was established to work and live with people who have special needs like learning disabilities. In the community all work is shared: teaching, caring, household tasks, gardening and ecological farming. In Camphill Communities the idea is that in the community life each person contributes according to his/her abilities what they can towards the well-being of their fellows. The community is based on the general Christian values and principles. The main work activities of Myllylähde are biodynamic agriculture, animal care, gardening, packing of the agriculture products and weavery and handicrafts workshops. All work is done together with adults with special needs. Location: Myllylähde community is situated in the Southern Finland in the village of Hämeenkoski, with the distance of about 30 km from the city of Lahti. Myllylähde is located in a quite remote countryside surroundings surrounded by beautiful nature, forests and fields. The distance to the Hämeenkoski village center, where also the local buses run to Lahti, is about 7 km.  Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: The volunteer is expected to be willing to help with all the activities of the community according to his/her personal skills and abilities. The tasks of the volunteer will be socializing and co-working with the people with special needs and supporting them in the community’s daily functions in practical tasks like cooking and cleaning. Volunteers can also introduce their own culture and language to the members of the community. Life in the community changes according to the seasons, and so do the tasks of the volunteer as well. From spring to autumn there is a lot of agricultural work tasks and in the winter time more work in the workshops. It is important that the volunteer is motivated to live in the countryside and interested to work with people with special needs.Interest in a communal way of life and nature is also helpful. Accommodation: Accommodation is in the project, in one of the communal houses. organization in the EU’s EVS database

Kirkkopalvelut ry / Seurakuntaopisto (The Church Training College)

SEURAKUNTAOPISTO (The Church Training College) is a private educational learning institution run by Kirkkopalvelut. Seurakuntaopisto has campus areas in Järvenpää, Pieksämäki, Lapua, Nykarleby and Ruokolahti. We have app. 2000 annual students and app. 180 employees. Seurakuntaopisto is specialized in social and health care education, the humanities and various church professions. We also offer preparatory training and guidance as well as short courses. Although being a mainstream vocational college Seurakuntaopisto offers and develops educational services also for immigrants and people with special needs (caused by learning problems, mental disability etc.). We also organize leisure time activities for the students, because many of them stay in our dormitory during their study weeks. Aim of our background organization Kirkkopalvelut is to build bridges between people, communities and church. Location: The volunteer will mainly work at the campus in Pieksämäki. Pieksämäki is a small town in the Eastern Finland, and Seurakuntaopisto is located 1,5 km away from the Pieksämäki town centre. Nearby there is a very beautiful park, lake and a small beach (beach volley possibilities in the summer). Depending on the volunteer’s skills and interests, some working weeks can be done in Järvenpää unit. Järvenpää is situated in the Southern Finland, 35 km north from Helsinki. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: The role of the volunteer is to bring intercultural aspects to the everyday life of the college and students, providing them a possibility for language practice and intercultural learning. Volunteers will have tasks as assistants with our instructors with the groups of special need learners. The need for assistance is either daytime during the lessons, or in the evening related to the leisure time activities. Volunteers will learn a lot about working with people with disabilities and what kind of support and possibilities they have in the Finnish society. By assisting students the volunteers also have a possibilities to learn about music, cooking, arts and handicrafts. Another important learning aspect is the communication, social capacity and team working skills, not to forget improvement in English and Finnish language skills. We are looking for a person with own-initiative and good interaction skills. Some knowledge or experience about disabilities is an advantage, but even more important is an open and positive attitude towards volunteering with people with special needs. Accommodation: Accommodation is provided in the student dormitory building situated in the Seurakuntaopisto campus area. The volunteers have private rooms, but kitchen, bathroom, sauna, laundry and drying rooms are shared with other volunteers and students. organization in the EU’s EVS database

Helsingin lyhytaikaiskoti ja työpaja Lyhty ry

LYHTY RY is a non-profit association which provides living-, education-, and work activity services for adults with learning disabilities. Location: Lyhty is situated in Helsinki. Lyhty receives volunteers to its outdoor workshop “Lato”, “A-B-C” housing services, arts&crafts workshop “Luovilla” and housing unit “Kotikutonen”. Volunteer’s role, tasks and requirements: The role, tasks and requirements of the volunteers vary according to their working unit. In all the units good social skills and motivation to work with people with special needs are important. Accommodation: The volunteers stay in a host family in the Helsinki area. Flexibility and motivation to share the everyday life with host family and adapt to the family life are important. organization in the EU’s EVS database

EVS volunteering in Finland – for whom?

The EVS voluntary work program is meant for 18 to 30 year olds who live permanently in one of the Erasmus+ programme countries or partner countries neighboring the EU.

Program countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, (Finland), France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom

Partner countries neighboring the EU:

Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Territory of Russia as recognized by international law, Serbia, Syria, Tunisia, Territory of Ukraine as recognized by international law

Turkish volunteer Esra at workshop Luovilla.

Costs?

Reasonable travelling expenses (based on travel distance) to Finland and back to the home country are covered for the volunteer from the Erasmus+ funding. In some cases the volunteer might have to pay a small part of these costs.

Also the following costs are covered for the participant from the Erasmus+ funding:

The accommodation and food are provided by the voluntary workplace and/or Finnish host family.

How to become an EVS volunteer?

Please visit this page for EVS projects that are currently looking for volunteers, applying instructions and the application form.

NB! Prior to sending us your application, please find for yourself a sending organisation from your country of residence. You can browse sending organizations in the Database for accredited organisations.

Further information?

Get to know experiences of our EVS voulunteers. More information about the EVS you can find from the European Youth Portal. You can also contact us. We will be glad to tell you more.