Intercultural Exchange Since 1949
Four values of Grenzenlos
Mutual Learning on Eye Level
Personal development in a world full of possibilities
Volunteering as a basis for peace
1949 - 1989
- The programmes of today’s Grenzenlos association started in 1949 as a reconciliation initiative of sending an annual exchange student to the USA. In the first decades the association had a strong Christian basis and it was administrated by the Christian point of view.
- In the 1950s volunteering started to spread all over the world. In 1956 the international organization “International Christian Youth Exchange” (ICYE) was founded, ICYE Austria was a founding member.
- In 1970 ICYE Austria was constituted as an independent, non-profit association. The Christian aspect still remained in discussion and gave way to a broader, intercultural approach in the 1970s.
- In 1987 ICYE was designated as a UN Messenger of Peace.
1990 - 2001
- The 1990s: In 1996, in addition to ICYE, the European Voluntary Service was introduced. In 1998 the Melange programme started – European Voluntary Service in Vienna. This youth exchange programme is focusing on social issues and it is significantly co-funded by the City of Vienna (through a close cooperation with the association wienXtra).
- In 2001 the volunteering programmes were expanded; the previous focus on long-term youth exchanges is now being enhanced with short-term and mid-term programmes as well as with programmes for all age groups.
- In 2001 the association got the name Grenzenlos. In the following years the number of participants multiplied.
2003 - 2009
- Grenzenlos has been involved in workcamp projects since 2003. It became a member of YAPÖ (Youth Action for Peace Österreich) until the end of this international network in 2009. After that the cooperation with the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organizations network has been intensified.
- Since 2006 Grenzenlos has played a leading role across Europe in promotion of accessible and barrier-free participation in youth exchanges and volunteering programmes (“All inclusive”, Melange and other co-operation projects).
- In 2009 domestic programmes (such as Zusammen Leben / Living Together, Grenzenlos@schools and Grenzenlos-online) were introduced and started. Intercultural exchange is not limited to mobility programmes. It can more and more take place in Austria as well.
2010 - 2016
- Since 2010 Grenzenlos has been hosting also volunteers from non-EU countries in Austria through the ICYE programme. In 2010 the focus was also on exchanges for the age group of 50 plus, as the EU programme Grundtvig 50+ as well as the projects of Ministry of Social Affairs were started.
- In 2011 Grenzenlos became a member of the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organizations network.
- In 2016 Grenzenlos became a member of Weltwegweiser (Austrian service center for international volunteer work).
2017 - today
- Since 2017 Grenzenlos has been an approved organization for voluntary service abroad (social service abroad) in accordance with the Federal Act on the Promotion of Voluntary Engagement. The Federal Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection recognize it. Since 2017 10-12 months of voluntary work can be recognized as a replacement for community service (ICYE long-term).
- In 2017-2019 Grenzenlos led a pilot project on inclusive volunteering. This project sends volunteers with disabilities to countries outside the Europe. The project is supported by Weltwegweiser and funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
- Since 2018 the European Voluntary Service (EVS) has been part of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). Grenzenlos continues to be active in volunteering projects of Melange programme as a supporting and hosting organization.