There are many organizations around the world that have a mission of creating peace on earth. Some, like us at Ten Million For World Peace, focus on meditation as a solution to spread peace. Others send volunteers to be of service around the world.

That’s what Volunteers for Peace (VFP) is all about. Since 1982, this non-profit organization has offered more than 3,000 volunteers to parts of the USA and other countries to address community development, intercultural education, and gaining experience in service. The goal is to promote environmental sustainability, social justice, and of course peace in the communities that host their volunteers.

Volunteers for Peace was founded by Peter Coldwell, who in the summer of 1968, went to Hungary and the Czech Republic for a voluntary service project sponsored by the Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) in Boston.This trip had a major impact on Peter.

After this broadening experience, Coldwell wanted to do something with significant impact. He also felt frustrated about the state of the world, and combined, this lead him to start his own organization. In 1982, VFP began as a non-profit group in Vermont with the intention of “promoting peaceful relationships among nations.” That year, the first round of volunteers were sent to Poland, Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, the former USSR, and Czechoslavakia.

In addition, VFP began a domestic volunteer project as well in Mount Holly, VT. Receiving a grant through the President’s International Youth Exchange Initiative, VFP began a number of conservation-based programs in the USA with partners in France and Germany.

Today, VFP organizes and supports up to 60 projects every year in the USA. There are also many opportunities to go abroad, with nearly 3,000 projects offered annually across the globe. The group suggests that volunteers can make a difference at the grassroots level and have to ability to contribute to a more peaceful planet.

Projects include environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, organic farming, reforestation, summer camp for kids, preserving wildlife habitats, improving access to clean water, historical renovation, community development, and festivals celebrating local art and culture. People can search for service options by country or type of project which shows the vast amount of opportunities available.

Volunteers can also choose different lengths of time to serve from short, and medium to long-term. In addition, if you have a group or want a family experience, VFP will customize a trip for you!  And there is also a teen program, for youth aged 14-17.

The idea for international workcamps (which is what VFP offers) originated with a Swiss pacifist, Peter Ceresole, who sought a “moral equivalent for war” after the end of the first World War. He could not sit by and doing nothing when there was so much reconstruction and need in war-torn communities all over Europe. That’s why he started Service Civil International (SCI), bringing together volunteers for constructive service for peace.

In 1948, after World War ll ended, enemy populations were gathered to work together for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNDESCO) which was the Coordinating Committee for the International Voluntary Service (CCIVA), now operating for 76 years.

VFP works with these organizations around the world, providing hundreds of volunteers every year to help meet local needs.

If you are seeking an opportunity to understand a different culture, helping a community meet it’s needs and improve the quality of life, and, contribute to a more harmonious world, visit