1400 volunteers frequently help out at Red Cross’ asylum centres. Together with the asylum seekers, they create a range of activities, and the possibilities are many: You can volunteer as a football coach for a team of happy boys and girls, you can put your skills to use as a homework assistant, or you can take part in cooking or cycling courses, to name a few.
Seeing people smile. Seeing children play and dance, considering what they have been through. It is incredibly life-affirming - Gevene Hertz, 70. Volunteer in the Info and Monday Café at the Sandholm Centre – see profile
Sharing common interests is a great way of getting to know one another. As a volunteer, you become part of a large community and help pave the way for better integration.
You can read more about the different activities arranged by volunteers below. The activities reflect the needs and interests of the residents. Therefore, not all centres offer the full range of activities. You can learn more about this at the frequent information meetings at the centres – they are in Danish though.
Children and adolescents
If you choose to become a volunteer and work with children and adolescents, you will be given the opportunity to go along on excursions, help children with their homework and arrange cosy and festive get-togethers. Activities with the children help families maintain a good everyday life.
New skills in a new community
Here is a chance to teach adult asylum seekers about some of the things some of us take for granted: Using public transportation or speaking the Danish language for instance. Learning how to ride a bicycle is also in great demand. Asylum seekers want to be able to jump on a bike like the rest of us. Therefore, you can help teach asylum seekers at the centres how to ride a bike safely in traffic.
The focus for these activities is on social interaction: Drinking a cup of coffee, cooking food, going for a walk, having a party or going on excursions such as a trip to the public swimming pool or to the local library. The activities are arranged together with both residents, volunteers and staff members.
Workshops and outlets
Most of the Danish asylum centres have outlets, where asylum seekers can drop in and pick up donated toys, clothes and beauty products such as nail polish and perfume. At several of the centres, you will also find workshops of different sorts; for example bicycle repair workshops, where residents, together with volunteers, can fix up and later buy second-hand bikes.
Sports and games
Exercise is a welcome diversion in the everyday lives of the waiting asylum seekers. The volunteers coach running teams, soccer teams and arrange other physical activities for the asylum seekers. Brains are exercised in chess tournaments.
On a one-to-one basis
If you would like to be with an asylum seeker on more of a one-to-one basis, there are also many opportunities for this. For example, you can become a volunteer visitor to an asylum seeker aged 18 or above, or you can be their companion and help them find their way around the local area if they have errands to do. Another option is to become a voluntary representative. However, this entails special requirements which you can read more about below.
As a volunteer in the Tracing Service, your job is to help asylum seekers find family members or close friends with whom they have lost contact. The Tracing Service is one of the unique Red Cross tasks, helping families re-establish contact which has been lost through war and natural disasters. Get help finding family members
Lectures and knowledge
ASIG is a group of volunteers with or without asylum seeker backgrounds. They visit places such as libraries and upper secondary schools to talk about having an asylum seeker background. Everything is in English. ASIG is based in Kongelunden on Zealand and in Jelling in Jutland. New Times is the asylum seekers’ own newspaper, with additional contributions from a small group of Danish volunteers. The newspaper is a really good read for all volunteers, because it contains personal accounts of being an asylum seeker in Denmark. Read New Times
Want to volunteer?
Whether you are in Denmark on a short-term visit or staying for a longer period, please be aware, that we engage people as volunteers, only if they can commit themselves for a period of at least six months. We do this because it takes time and resources to become familiar with the asylum centre, the context and the volunteer activities – and not least to create some kind of stability for the asylum seekers.
Note also, that all the volunteer activities take place at the asylum centres, and that these are located outside Copenhagen. You can find the addresses here.
If you are interested in volunteering at a Red Cross asylum centre, we will be happy to receive an email from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please tell us which centre you will be interested in volunteering at, and which activity you would like to take an active share in, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.