The SERVE story is closely linked to the significant commitment made by the Irish Redemptorists to working with young adults. The Irish Redemptorists have a long tradition of overseas mission and working with poor and abandoned communities.
This mission tradition and the associated commitment of resources and energy to working with young adults acted as the catalyst that inspired the SERVE initiative.
The first SERVE volunteer initiative involved twelve young Irish adults working with a range of development partners in the Philippine islands for ten weeks in 2003. This overseas experience prompted a vision that has seen SERVE evolve into a development and volunteering organisation working with partners in South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, India and Brazil.
From the beginning, all SERVE initiative were characterised by a partnership approach. The Redemptorists in Cherry Orchard in Ballyfermot, Dublin provided accommodation and space to facilitate returned volunteers to grow the SERVE vision. The Dublin Province of the Redemptorists helped provide in the early days seed capital to meet basic expenses and overcome early obstacles.
In 2007, SERVE established its own legal personality as a company limited by guarantee and as a registered charity. SERVE is governed by a board of directors who formulate and approve an ambitious strategic plan in favour of children, young people and gender equality in some of the poorest countries in the world.
Since 2003, SERVE has placed over 1,000 Irish volunteers on overseas assignments and contributed over €14 million to development projects and enjoys good working relationships with Comhlamh, Irish Aid, Electric Aid, Misean Cara and other important development stakeholders.