Volunteering to help your peers

Logo Schuler Helfen Leben

Imagine children helping out other children, underage European Union members caring about fellow minors living out of the EU borders – that’s exactly the raison d’être of Schüler Helfen Leben.

Created in 1992, at the height of the war in now ex-Yugoslavia, Schüler Helfen Leben is the largest high school student organization in Germany. Its members are all volunteers, from the first link of the chain to the Council and Board of Trustees that operates the organization. And they are all dedicated to one and one goal only: helping children in situation, or at risk, of social exclusion in the Western Balkans.

Schüler Helfen Leben

Thus, for almost twenty years now, volunteers at Schüler Helfen Leben have been committed to equal educational opportunities, peaceful coexistence, poverty reduction and human rights in countries such as Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Serbia. This organization is especially dedicated to the idea that children and young people, more than anyone else, have the right to grow up carefree regardless of their origin, nationality, culture, religion, sexual orientation and other forms of social discrimination. Yet, unlike few other organizations, Schüler Helfen Leben only relies on children and young adults to carry out this task. As a matter of fact, board members are all under 20.

Photo SOVA

The biggest event of the year for Schüler Helfen Leben that is to say its Social Day is targeted at German high school students, and in fact, gathers each year more than 100,000 students committed to helping their counterparts living in the Western Balkans. Besides, Schüler Helfen Leben not only builds bridges between Germany and the Balkans, it also orchestrates meetings. Thus, last October, Schüler Helfen Leben took 25 minors to Bosnia for a two-week stay: this enabled kids and young adults to visit schools, youth centers and to overall meet other kids with a different history and background.

For all the trips organized, the money collected and the programs undertaken, Schüler Helfen Leben even received the European Citizen Prize in 2011, an EU distinction awarded by the European Parliament and acknowledging commitment and dedication to bringing European peoples together.