Humanist Service Corps

What is the Humanist Service Corps?

Humanist Service Corps TeamThe Humanist Service Corps (HSC) is an international volunteering program guided by secular humanist principles: Volunteers live on-site for a year while working in partnership with a local organization to impact their community. The Humanist Service Corps is the only international volunteering program guided by the values of humanism. Why does that matter? Because humanist service must be effective, sustainable, and responsible. (See HSC’s Principles of Service.)

HSC focuses on protecting human rights by meeting basic needs. Human rights abuses occur most commonly where people have insufficient access to education, healthcare, and jobs. HSC collaborates with local organizations and individuals to provide these basic needs and empower members of the local community.

The care and thoughtfulness which the Humanist Service Corps brings to this process:

  • facilitates intercultural understanding
  • supports local expertise instead of replacing it
  • trains humanist leaders
  • increases non-religious engagement in service
  • improves global perception of the nonreligious

What makes the Humanist Service Corps so unique? It’s not just that HSC allows non religious individuals to volunteer together -- it’s how HSC asks volunteers to serve. HSC sets itself apart from more conventional secular volunteering programs by covering program costs and providing stipends. This demonstrates HSC's focus on the skills volunteers bring to the program rather than the experience the program provides volunteers. It also ensures that this challenging and rewarding opportunity is open to volunteers from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.

A Service Model Built on Collaboration

HSC partners with grassroots organizations to achieve effective and culturally responsible change. This enables HSC volunteers to:

  • benefit from native expertise
  • achieve meaningful positive impacts in a relatively short period of time
  • contribute to lasting change by imparting skills and knowledge to local staff

Within this fundamentally collaborative framework, HSC volunteers do not provide direct services to the community. Instead, volunteers work to increase the capacity of the partner organizations to provide direct services.

HSC TeamIn order to serve effectively, volunteers first learn and adapt. HSC volunteers each have their own unique expertise to offer, but it takes time to understand how that expertise can be applied in the local context and to build the relationships necessary for successful capacity-building. HSC works to minimize the visibility of its volunteers and maximize the visibility of its partner organizations, because the face of change should always be a local one.

Learn more about our current work, volunteer opportunities, donate, or help us raise awareness.

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