Information in English

International building camps – on your way with dedication

What is a building camp?

Young people work hard for a good cause. They build and renovate together in an international group, und thereby support social organisations. Everybody who wants to get involved can take part. In Germany and abroad.


We support social and non-profit organisations in Germany and Europe through our building camps. An alternative kindergarten in Magdeburg, or the Jewish community in Mainz, or a school for disabled children in Klaipeda, Lithuania. We chose the projects with great care. The work of our volunteers ought to be a real relief for the projects. Therefore we pay a subsidy for board and lodging of the volunteers to the projects.


7 – 8 hours is the daily workload. Technical skills and experiences are very welcome, but not mandatory. The project provides technical guidance, so that everybody knows what to do. The tasks on the camp can be very different: pulling down walls and painting windows, laying a new floor und carpenter’s work, plastering, tiling and putting up wallpapers, electric installations and roof isolation.


Everybody who wants to work on a construction site together with others can take part. A group consists of 6 – 12 volunteers from different countries. Pupils and students, unemployed and employed, pensioners and trainees. Most volunteers are between 18 and 25 years, and there also is a group of active pensioners. Nationality, religion and knowledge of foreign languages are no criteria.

Openness, a thirst for adventure and talent to improvise are very helpful on a building camp.

Board and lodging

Accommodation is often rather simple, so you mostly need to bring a sleeping bag. The group either cooks for themselves, or the project provides the meals.

Board and lodging are free of cost.

Free time activities

The group of volunteers organizes their own free time activities. There are many possibilities: a campfire and singing songs, swimming or playing cards. During the weekends you can organize trips to the next big city, to the sea or to the mountains – depending where you are.

IBO cannot cover the costs for free time activities.

Registration and Arrival

Volunteers from countries where there is no IBO secretary can register for a building camp in Germany directly at the office of IBO Germany (, in German, English or Russian, with the name of the building camp in the subject line). Volunteers from these countries do not pay a registration fee. They organize the journey to the camp by themselves and also cover the travel costs.

Why a building camp at all?

With the building camps, IBO and its volunteers contribute to international understanding and peace education. At the same time, they support social and non-profit projects. The achieved working results are as important as living together in an international group.

A building camp is the possibility to show commitment.


2 months programme

You are an active and dedicated young volunteer?

An international group of volunteers on a camp in Germany

IBO offers you the opportunity to participate for two month in different work camps and by this to discover different faces of Germany. You will gain insights into social projects, you will get to know different regions of Germany and you will work, live and learn in varying international groups.

During the camps accommodation and food will be free. Volunteers will pay for free time activities (e.g. during free weekends) themselves. During the other weekends you will travel together with other volunteers to the next building camp, IBO will pay these travel expenses for you.




You should bring:

We offer:

Send applications (letter of motivation, CV and a picture) to


Background information on IBO

Flag of IBO GermanyFor more than 50 years, IBO is organizing international youth encounters, peace services and help projects in Europe.

The Dutch padre Werenfried van Straaten founded the Bauorden / Bouworde in 1953. He motivated young men and students to help building new houses for refugees and expellees in war-devastated Germany. The housing shortage had to be eased. The first building camp took place from 6th to 18th of April1953 in Nienberge near Münster/Westphalia. 17 other relief actions were organized in Germany in the very same year. 600 “building compagnons” form four different nations came to help.

In Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Hungary autonomous national IBO-organisations were created. They cooperate closely and together form the International Building Order (IBO). There are also contact offices of IBO in Poland and Czech Republic.

Together with its partners, IBO Germany organizes annually about 180 relief actions – building camps - in Europe. More than 350.000 students, pupils, trainees and craftsmen have so far helped as volunteers. The costs are covered to a large extent by donators. Building camps are a possibility for civic commitment and international encounter.



„I never forgot the German words for wheelbarrow, spirit level, trowel and pickaxe.
And it seems hard to believe: in a small village in Germany I learnt the meaning of reconciliation,
tolerance and Europe. For this I am grateful until today.“
Romano Prodi, former Italian prime minister and former president of the European Comission,
IBO volunteer in 1958 
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