Volunteer Hospitality Host, Leader or Guest
Volunteering, Participation, Donation, Membership, etc.
(Note: If you are considering any volunteer work overseas please stay safe, read our blog disclaimer and consider your personal decisions carefully. Also consider that volunteering with a family in tow, involves far more considerations, compromises and sacrifices, than that of a solo traveller).
Our host in Brussels is a member, leader and advocate of Servas. We looked into joining before we left on this trip but were unsure of the benefits. Now we have learnt more about this organisation, we may consider hosting and travelling with Servas in the future.
We believe, membership as a host or leader involves a donation and membership as a traveller involves a membership fee. Joining up is pretty involved with form filling and an interview. The membership is generally of a 50+ age group and mostly women.
Servas is an international, non-governmental, multicultural peace association run by volunteers in over 100 countries. Founded in 1949 by Bob Luitweiler as a peace movement, Servas International is a non-profit organization working to build understanding, tolerance and world peace.
Servas International promotes world-peace by encouraging individual person-to-person contacts. Servas means “to serve”, in the sense of “serve peace”, in the language Esperanto.
It operates through a network of hosts around the world who are interested in opening their doors to travellers, and through open-minded travellers who want to know the countries they visit from within. Travellers and hosts are usually interviewed when they apply to join the organisation according to branch (member country) practice; travellers write a self-introduction on a special form valid one year, that is shown to hosts upon arrival.
In some ways it is similar to other hospitality exchanges like hospitality club and couch surfing, etc but because it is far more stringent, members are far more aligned in their ideas. So members already know who is going to walk into their home or who is going to host them.