Projects

Preliminary note

The following list includes all project partners with whom we cooperate – sometimes only selectively – or have cooperated in the past, although the Corona pandemic, the Ukraine war, etc. have of course made or are making the realization of many joint projects difficult or impossible. Therefore, we try to help our partners through donations, so that they can at least continue their own work as far as possible, because we do not want to leave them in the lurch. Therefore we are happy about every project-related donation (“Talitha-Kumi-School”, “Jahalin-Beduins”, “Jugendhilfe Tanzania” etc.), with whose help we can support their exemplary work. Once again, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all donors for their extremely generous support of our numerous fundraising activities and projects! We hope that you will continue to support our work as generously and benevolently as you have in the past, as those affected are in urgent need of your donations.

Our projects:

International

Palestine

Tent of Nations (ToN) near Bethlehem – JIK sponsorship: 200 T € (see also under fundraising activities)

Daoud Nassar (Photo: DN)

Fundraising for reconstruction + maintenance of the ToN

For more than 10 years we have been visiting and supporting the 42 ha vineyard with international youth meeting place “Tent of Nations”(ToN) near Bethlehem of the Christian Palestinian Daoud Nassar. He and his family act according to the motto “We refuse to be enemies” and have been fighting for 31 years in the highest Israeli courts by peaceful means to preserve his land, although this land is documented to have been family property since 1916.

Since his land is surrounded by 5 Israeli settlements, if his land is expropriated, another Israeli settlement could be built and widely surrounded with another large wall that would separate Bethlehem from Jerusalem for Palestinians/ Palestinians.

Nevertheless, until 2020, many meetings, workshops and summer camps took place with young people and adults from 40 countries (more than 10,000 visitors in 2019).

However, since 2020 alone, his land and family have again been subjected to 28 attacks and destruction of many thousands of trees, but also numerous facilities, with property damage of about € 130,000. The repeatedly postponed court date for the re-registration of the ToN has now been set for May 2, 2022.

If a re-registration of the ToN with transfer of ownership to the Nassar family should then really take place, registration costs in the 6-digit range could arise, which JIK or the support circles and sponsors would then have to raise. Therefore, further donations are urgently needed.

On 28.1.22 assassination attempt was even made by 15 masked men on brothers Daher and Daoud Nassar, injuring them so seriously that they had to be treated in hospital. Only the courageous intervention of the elderly Dutch volunteer Meta prevented worse. The perpetrators are known, but have not been arrested or convicted to date.

 

Tony + Daoud Nassar, Oliver Owcza (Head of the German Representation in Ramallah), Therefore Nassar Photo: Rana Abu Farha, Maghtas.com

 

In February, an impressive event was held to mark the return of the two Nassar brothers to the ToN, attended by high-level representatives of local church leaders and other local and international supporters of the Tent of Nations project, as well as high-level and local political representatives from the neighboring town, Bethlehem, and the Palestinian Authority, among others. media presence participated. Here is the link to the very informative press report:

www.eappi-netzwerk.de/ein-lichtstreif-am-horizont/#more-3596

Image 2: Daoud Nassar thanks the guests for coming and their support. From left to right: Reverend Canon Don Binder (Chaplain to the Archbishop of the Anglicans), Bishop Ibrahim Azar (ELCJHL = Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land), behind him Rev. Joachim Lenz, Evangelical Lutheran Propst.Lutheran Provost of Jerusalem and as such representative of the EKD in the Holy Land, Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate (Roman Catholic), Archbishop Atallah Hanna (Greek Orthodox Patriarchate), Munib Younan, the predecessor of predecessor of Ibrahim Azar, Daoud Nassar, next to him the Mayor of Bethlehem Anton Zaiman. ©WCC-EAPPI

Last message from 30.4.22

Unfortunately, the court date of 2.5.22 has been postponed indefinitely for the umpteenth time. Here is the corresponding message from Daoud Nassar:

“Dear Friends of Tent of Nations Nassar Farm, I am writing to inform you that the hearing scheduled for May 2 has been postponed and no new date has yet been set. We expected this, although we had hoped that the hearing would take place and the process would go smoothly, to end the 32-year struggle to protect the farm. We will keep you updated and let you know the new date as soon as we get a feedback.

In the meantime, we continue to welcome international visitors and volunteers, farm the land, plant new trees of hope, and invite more people to join us on this long journey for justice.

We ask you to share our story, raise awareness in your communities, and encourage more visitors and volunteers to visit and then return to tell the story of steadfastness and hope.

We will also let you know what else you can do to help. Thank you for all your support and solidarity. And the journey continues with faith, love and hope.”

The different ToN-supporting circles together with Daoud Nassar’s family will now discuss which German and worldwide actions should be carried out in favor of the ToN, although such actions are unfortunately difficult to reach a broad public in view of the increasingly terrible war in Ukraine.

Following the example of other countries, a Germany-wide ToN support association is also being discussed in order to bundle the many individual activities. Alternatively, JIK could also become an official German ToN supporters’ association – possibly with an amendment to the statutes and expansion of the board to include active representatives of existing supporters’ groups. Urgently helpful and necessary is certainly also a – since 2020 repeatedly postponed – tour of Germany by Daoud Nassar, e.g. from mid-September 2022.

Dar Al Kalima School in Bethlehem – JIK grant: 50 T €

Dar Al Kalima School in Bethlehem (Photo: GS)

In the past, we have not only regularly visited and supported the Palestinian Lutheran Dar Al-Kalima School in Bethlehem for several days since 2013, but have also stayed overnight with host families there. This institution, which we have supported in the past, has also run into great difficulties, so that it is more dependent than ever on financial support from outside. Among other things, we have financed the reciprocal visits to with approx. 50 T € so far, since we have covered the entire costs of the exchange incl. the costs for the exchange program. Flight costs, food, accommodation, program, insurance, etc. had to be covered.

For more information on the school, visit www.daralkalima.com

Talitha Kumi School in Beit Jala – JIK grant: 30 T €

Talitha Kumi School (Photo: TKS)

The German Evangelical Lutheran school Talitha Kumi in Beit Jala near Bethlehem offers Christian and Muslim girls and boys a protected space. Here they can learn together and develop into self-confident personalities. In 2017 Talitha Kumi was awarded the seal of approval ” Excellent German School Abroad “. This school is also supported by us with 4 T € so far.

In June 2022, a 16-member group from this school will come to us, and we will have to cover the costs of the entire exchange (airfare and program costs, accommodations, meals, insurance, etc.) in the amount of approximately €26 thousand. We will then visit this group in October for another exchange. www.talithakumi.org

Youth Aid Palestine – JIK funding: 52 T €

Al-Jalazoon Secondary Girl’s School (Photo: GS)

YMCA Palestine (Photo: YMCA)

The Al-Jalazoon Secondary Girls’ School in the refugee camp of Ramallah (Fig. 1) – built with KFW funds and also in great need – has been regularly visited and supported by us since 2009. Four times a group from this institution was our guest. We hope that next year it will be possible to have a bilateral meeting again, and we will have to cover the entire cost of each stay with us, totaling 40 T €.

In addition, we also provide emergency aid to Palestinian families who have become unemployed due to the Corona pandemic and are in great financial difficulties (11 T €), as well as JAI – an association of YMCA East Jerusalem and YWCA Palestine – with 1 T €, which works for peace through justice in Palestine, based on humanitarian and Christian values.

Schmidt School in East Jerusalem – JIK funding: 3 T €

Schmidt School (Photo: GS)

The Schmidt School was founded in 1886 as a private girls’ school under Catholic school sponsorship. The objective was and still is to offer girls’ education at the highest level: intercultural, interreligious, multilingual, holistic and independent of the social and religious background of the students. Today, this offer is taken up by 500 girls of Christian or Muslim faith. Since 2008, the Schmidt School has belonged to the circle of 140 German schools abroad worldwide and since 2015 it has held the quality seal “Excellent German School Abroad”.

www.schmidtschule.schule.de

Jahalin Bedouins in the Judean Desert – JIK Funding: 3 T €

Aid Jahalin with daughter (Photo: GS)

Car tire school (Photo: GS)

Classroom (Photo: GS)

Israeli Funpark Project (Photo: AJ)

Israeli water connection

Car tires as building material (Photos: GS)

In early March 22, I visited the Jahalin Bedouins in the Judean Desert (between Jerusalem and Jericho) for the first time with a JIK staff member. In particular, its spokesman Aid Jahalin has been fighting for many years in Israeli courts and with the help of international public opinion (see Daoud Nassar and the ToN) against the Israeli government, which wants to expel or forcibly resettle the more than 3,000 Bedouin in this region as well as the 220,000 Bedouin in the Negev Desert. The Jahalin Bedouins receive no support from the government, so they have built a school for their children out of old car tires. Therefore, at our next meeting with our youth group in October, we would like to bring school materials and many other items important to them, in order to make their lessons as well as their everyday life a little easier.

The real reason for their planned eviction are plans for a new airport as well as an amusement park with hotels. The Israeli government has already laid a water connection (photo no. 5) for the development of the site, which ends directly at the fence to the school.

However, the Bedouins are not allowed to use this water connection, but have to fetch water from very far away. Apparently, airports, fun parks and hotels seem to be more important to the Israeli government than habitats and schools for the Bedouin.

More info on www.jahalin.org

Jordan

Za’atari refugee camp – JIK funding: 3 T €

Za’atari Refugee Camp (Photo: GS)

In February 2016, I was invited by the Jordanian government to visit the UNHCR’s largest refugee camp Za’atari on the Syrian border (over 100,000 Syrian refugees) to learn about the situation there on the spot, as many Syrian refugees have come to Germany since 2015 and since then we have also been caring for the now 4-member Syrian refugee family Delkhwas.

There I was received by the camp commander White and guided through the camp in a jeep. I then handed over €3,000 in cash from JIK to the head of one of the kindergartens for purchases or a children’s project for which the UN aid organization could not provide any money.

More information from the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in Zaatari refugee camp www.unhcr.de

Bedouin school in Wadi Rum – JIK funding: 0.5 T €

Bedouin school in Wadi Rum (Photo: GS)

In 2019, we visited a Bedouin school in Wadi Rum for the 1st time and donated 0.5 T € for a project with particularly disadvantaged schoolgirls. We would like to visit this school again in October 2022.

SOS Children’s Villages in Amman and Aqaba – JIK sponsorship: 2 T €

SOS Children’s Village in Amman (Photo: GS)

Since 2016, we have been visiting SOS Children’s Villages in Jordan (Amman and Aqaba) and supporting various smaller projects there. In 2022 we would like to visit the SOS Children’s Village in Aqaba again.

More info on these facilities at www.sos-kinderdorf.de

India

Indian dance group NrityaVani – JIK funding: 6 T €

Indian dance group NrityaVani (Photo: AS)

Since 2011, the Indian dance group NrityaVani from Bangalore has been invited by JIK to visit our region as part of their tour of Central Europe every 2 years. Under the direction of senior dance teacher Mr. Nanthakumar from Bangalore and mostly six young women from different areas of India (in annually changing line-up) Nrityavani presents a colorful program.

Besides classical Indian (Bharata Natya) and religious dances, of course, also modern folk dance à la Bollywood. In addition to evening events and workshops in schools, they perform in churches and participate in church services. We hope that they will be able to join us again from 2023.

Russia
Russian youth organizations – JIK funding: 14 T €

Dance project 2019 at BKO (Photo: GS)

Since 2017 there is a 2-sided youth exchange with youth organizations in St. Petersburg (State budgetary vocational educational institution “Leningrad regional College of culture and art”) and Moscow (“Moscow cultural multifunctional center”). A group from St. Petersburg was our guest in 2019 for an 8-day workshop in theater, music, dance and art including. Further training seminar in Cuxhaven, whereby we again had to finance the entire return visit (incl. flight costs). Unfortunately, as a result of the Ukraine war, this exchange cannot continue for the foreseeable future.

Tanzania

Youth Aid Tanzania for Pamoja, among others. e.V. – JIK funding: 7 T €

Photo: Pamoja e.V.

Pamoja e.V. supports the Kigamboni Community Center (KCC) in Tanzania with many individual projects: The KCC is the contact point for 400-450 children and young people every day who need protection, education and support. In the center you will find many different free services such as pre-school kindergarten, computer, English courses, various tutoring services as well as daily activities that take place mainly in the afternoon (acrobatics, music, traditional and modern dance, theater, tailoring, sewing, swimming lessons, etc.). All offers are led and organized by about 35 Tanzanians on a voluntary basis. www.pamoja-together.de

Interfaith Center in Zanzibar – JIK funding: 25 T €

Interfaith Center Zanzibar (Photo: GS)

Since 2018, there have been regular reciprocal youth encounters with the interfaith Interfaith Centre in Zanzibar. In 2019, a return visit also took place, and again we had to finance the entire exchange also with us. We hope that we can continue this – Corona conditioned – interrupted exchange in 2024.

More about the Interfaith Center at www.facebook.com/ZanzicMeansPeace and www.zanzic.or.tz

Worldwide

Children’s Cultural Caravan (KKK) – JIK funding: 6 T €

AfroRaiz from Brazil (Photo: KKK)

In 2019, we have begun to invite artistically active youth groups from the Amazon (AfroRaiz from Brazil), Uganda, Palestine and El Salvador, among others, to join us through the KKK and to organize multi-day workshops with a German and a youth group from Zanzibar, for example. We hope to continue these activities in 2023, should this be possible due to Corona.

More info at www.kinderkulturkarawane.de

Germany-wide

Angel of Cultures (also Europe-wide) – JIK funding: 40 T €

Since 2009 we have been working closely with the artist couple Carmen Dietrich and Gregor Merten, who developed the peace symbol “Angel of Cultures” (EdK) as a connecting sign between the 3 Abrahamic world religions and have so far installed or distributed it in many cities in Europe and also in the Middle East, e.g. as a floor inlay.

For the artists, the 3 not fully visible symbols of these 3 religions – Christian cross, Jewish star and Islamic crescent – are here representative of all cultures and religions. The angel plays an important, mediating as well as protective role in the monotheistic religions and is, according to the artists, a clear sign against right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, fundamentalism and the accompanying exclusion of entire population groups.

JIK has therefore used this symbol of intercultural understanding in many projects on all trips and has also presented it as a gift to many members of different religions. On 06.10. In 2014, with the support of JIK and the Bethe Foundation, this symbol was installed as a large exterior wall installation at the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa – and this despite the great tensions between Jews and Muslims in Israel in particular.

Model of the LandArt project on the ToN (Photo: EdK)

In the same year, together with the artist couple – with the significant participation of a member of the board – we began to shape the LandArt project they had developed, 30 meters in circumference, using stones from the surrounding area on the grounds of Daoud Nassar’s Tent of Nations peace project near Bethlehem. In February 2015, this work was continued by the artist Gregor Merten and two JIK representatives, so that the entire shape of the angel can be clearly defined and further completed by international visitor groups and young people from all over the world by bringing stones or rocks from the region. The artists would like to build bridges between the members of the different religions and set a sign of hope for a peaceful solution in the region. Therefore, among other things, interreligious meetings and prayers should take place there, later also in a temporary Abraham tent. This project was also financed by JIK with the support of the Bethe Foundation. In this way, bridges are to be built between the members of the different religions. At the same time, a sign of hope will be set for a peaceful solution in the region. Therefore, among other things, interfaith meetings and prayers should take place there, later also in a space of silence on this LandArt project. In order to complete this large-scale LandArt project, we have once again provided €16,000 with the help of the Bethe Foundation’s 2nd Donation Doubling Campaign, so that this peace project can still be completed – despite the Corona crisis. Unfortunately – not least as a result of the permanent attacks on the ToN incl. of the assassination attempt on the Nassar brothers on 28.1.22 until the end of January 22 – the work could only be partially continued. We hope that work on this EdK LandArt project can continue and be completed in 2023.

A second, much larger and more ambitious project is the plan for the installation of the over 3 meter high “Angel of Cultures Column” in a yet to be completely redesigned Roof Garden of Cultures in the center of Jerusalem’s Old City. (see picture)

Unfortunately, this project, which was initially supported by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Protestant Church in Jerusalem, has been postponed until further notice as a result of changed priorities, lack of funding, and not least because of the current political situation in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, we very much hope that this project can also be realized one day.

With the support of JIK, another major EdK project is to be built in Leverkusen’s Neuland Park in 2022, but its design has not yet been determined.

1st draft of the EdK large-scale project in the Neulandpark (Photo: EdK)

Info on these and all other EdK projects at www.engel-der-kulturen.de

Regional (Bonn – Leverkusen area)

Intercultural projects in St. Augustin + Bonn – JIK funding: 50 T €

Caritas Bonn: Endlich wohnen – JIK funding: 2 T €

“Around 1400 people in Bonn are currently homeless. This includes quite a number of young men and women who are in our rehab facilities or assisted living. They have suffered mental illness or traumatic experiences, are struggling with addictions or were already living on the streets as teenagers. Now, at the end of a successful therapy, they dream of finally mastering their lives on their own again. The key to this would be an apartment of their own. But unfortunately, that is anything but easy in a big city like Bonn. Housing is scarce and expensive. The housing market mercilessly excludes people like her. For us at Caritas, this is an intolerable state of affairs.

That is why we are now taking a new approach in Bonn-Geislar and building 14 apartments of our own to serve as a launching pad for these young homeless people into a better, independent future. In these apartments, future tenants will continue to receive the necessary support from our facilities whenever needed. Basically, however, they are to shape their lives here on their own responsibility and on their own. As soon as this succeeds and they feel strong enough – whether after one or two years or even later – they can independently look for another apartment from the tenancy in Geislar. And in our residential project Quartier Geislar, the next generation can move in to ‘finally live’ “.

More … www.endlichwohnen-caritas.de

Caritas Bonn Ukraine aid – JIK funding: 2 T €

“On behalf of the city of Bonn, we support refugees from Ukraine who are currently accommodated in hotels in Bonn with information events and personal counseling. The goal is to make it easier for people to get started in Germany by providing targeted information, advice and assistance. Questions such as livelihood, school, daycare, German courses and bureaucratic requirements need to be clarified. Advice on leisure activities to make life in a foreign country more meaningful is also part of the offer. In addition to the full-time advisors of Caritas Bonn, volunteers also provide support.

In addition, we offer counseling for refugees to help them cope better with the psychological stress caused by war and flight. Our specialists will also train the staff in the refugee accommodations (gymnasiums, etc.) so that they can better respond to people with psychological stress.” www.caritas-bonn.de

Cassiopeia – Interpreting at parent meetings – JIK funding: 1.7 T €

Self-introduction of the association and the project:

Cassiopeia e.V. is a young non-profit association based in Bonn with members all over Germany. Our focus is on working with children and youth in diversity-conscious education. He wants to offer a platform to other committed people who want to work for a respectful, democratic and empathetic society. The various projects should have a local and direct impact by addressing concrete needs. With the learning coaching program, older students are trained as mentors at 3 schools to support children from the lower grades in mastering the balancing act between family, school and cultural obligations. With a specially designed district rally, primarily children and school classes should have the opportunity to discover some beautiful parts of Tannenbusch and learn about the diverse district and its inhabitants. The association is also represented at action days such as the City of Bonn’s Sustainability Week 2021, where it had a stand on the topic of “International Educational Equity”.

A new project planned for 2022 is “Interpreting at Parents’ Meetings” at the Bertolt- Brecht Gesamtschule Tannenbusch. From the exchange with teachers at the BBG it has emerged that communication between teachers and parents is often hampered by language barriers. Active members and volunteers of Cassiopeia e.V. know exactly these challenges from their own school days and can mediate between teachers and parents through their multilingualism and cultural competencies. Within the framework of the project, the school is to be provided with people on parent-teacher conferences and during discussions with the social workers who, with their linguistic knowledge and personal experience, can interpret, resolve linguistic misunderstandings and prepare and follow up discussions with the parents in the event of ambiguities. www.cassiopeia-ev.de

Protestant church in St. Augustin – JIK funding: 4 T €

Protestant Youth Organization Sieg – Rhine – Bonn – JIK funding: 2 T €

The goal is to support the integration of newly immigrated youth and young adults and to give them access to cultural and social participation.

More … www.evaju.de/jugendhilfe-schule

Diakonie an Sieg und Rhein – JIK funding: 2 T €

Children, young people and their families should be addressed, advised and involved in the Mülldorf-Nord neighborhood in Sankt Augustin. New forms of services are developed in a participatory manner with the understanding that they promote the competencies, ownership and empowerment of children, youth and their families.

More … www.diakonie-sieg-rhein.de/hilfe-fuer- children-and-youth/#together-in-the-quarter

Gefährdetenhilfe Bonn – JIK funding: 2 T €

The service of the Association for Aid to the Endangered is carried out in Christian and humanitarian responsibility, for the sake of the dignity of the human being. The VFG represents the interests of people who are in need of help, who are on the fringes of society and who are in danger of falling outside the social safety net. In order to improve the living situation of these people, the VFG builds innovative, pragmatic and needs-based assistance offers in a closely networked system. In order to preserve human dignity, it is necessary to ensure the survival of the clientele, to provide them with financial security and to give them housing, work and opportunities to build a sustainable network of social relationships.

The VFG directs its offer of assistance to the following group of people:

  • People in particular social difficulties, such as homelessness and destitution
  • People who need help due to their physical, mental or psychological condition, e.g. addiction to addictive substances
  • Unemployed people who have particular difficulties returning to work due to multiple placement obstacles
  • Children of addicted parents”

More … www.vfg-bonn.de

Families of refugees in Sankt Augustin/Bonn – JIK funding: 30 T €

Congolese refugee family (Photo: GS)

Ukrainian refugees (Photo: Caritas Bonn)

For many years, JIK has been supporting refugee families from Bosnia, Congo, Kosovo, Syria and now also from Ukraine not only materially, but also helps them cope with everyday life, with visits to the authorities, finding accommodation, etc.

Intercultural Week in Sankt Augustin – JIK funding: 2 T €

Shaping diversity together

Under the motto #offengeht took place from 26.9. – 3.10.21 Intercultural Week 2021 will be held nationwide. Numerous events are again planned on the territory of the Rhenish Church, in which Protestant congregations, institutions and diaconal works will also participate. The Intercultural Week provides an opportunity to talk to people whose voices are not otherwise heard and to bring them into contact with political leaders to discuss important issues,” explains Dr. Beate Sträter. The Bonn-based theologian and school counselor is chairwoman of the ecumenical preparatory committee that plans the annual Germany-wide week of action. Under the motto #offengeht, the Intercultural Week 2021 wants to make a clear plea for an open society in which universal human rights are respected. The action week will be officially opened nationwide on September 26 as part of a church service with a civic festival in Rostock.”

Also in St. Augustin many intercultural events took place, which are supported by JIK with 2 T €.

For more info: Shaping diversity together – news.ekir.de

Catholic church in Sankt Augustin – JIK funding: 2.5 T €

Aid for refugees of the Catholic Church in Sankt Augustin

We work very closely with the Catholic Church in Sankt Augustin, which regularly makes its premises available to us for our various events.

JIK also supports refugee assistance at the association’s headquarters, including the Café International and the Lotsenpunkt with 2 T €. www.katholisch-sankt-augustin.de

LebensRaum Church in Sankt Augustin

Photo: GS

In the LebensRaum Kirche in the Huma Center Sankt Augustin – an ecumenical initiative of the Catholic and Protestant parishes in Sankt Augustin – there is, among other things, a cozy sitting area that invites you to make yourself a warm cup of tea in the small tea kitchen and simply relax for a while. There is always an interesting exhibition with interactions that encourages you to get creative yourself. For this purpose, a DIY craft table is ready, where you can let off steam creatively wonderful. For this JIK has a large EdK wooden puzzle (see above) worth 0.5 T € for a creative intercultural work.

More info at www.lebensraum-kirche.de

MC Birlinghoven (encounter festivals) – JIK funding: 2.2 T €

Encounter Festival 2021 in Birlinghoven (Photo: GA)

Since 2021, JIK has supported this annual intercultural encounter festival of the Birlinghoven Male Choir, which continues its traditional castle concerts on the occasion of its 175th anniversary in Birlinghoven on 6/7/22. On 18.6.22 we will participate with our Palestinian group in the next encounter festival. www.mc-birlinghoven.de

Rhein-Sieg-Gymnasium Sankt Augustin – JIK funding: 2 T €

Circus from Nablus (Palestine) September 2019 at RSG

At the RSG, we have also implemented several projects with students of different age groups (circus workshop, lectures, etc.). From June 2022, the cooperation with the RGS will be continued within the framework of the exchange with Palestine.

More info at: www.rhein-sieg-gymnasium.de

Theater projects – JIK funding: €26k

Homer’s “Odyssey” (Photo: GS)

Since 2013 we have organized a total of 5 theater projects, 3 of them at the Berufskolleg Opladen, 1 project (Romeo and Juliet in 10 minutes) and the currently suspended and initially postponed to August 22 project at the comprehensive school in Lohmar.

Basics and pedagogical goals of our theater work

From 2012-15, JIK worked with Cologne-based theater pedagogue, actor and director Jürgen Albrecht at the Berufskolleg Opladen, who first rehearses basic elements of acting with the participants (participants are 15-20 young people aged 16 and older) and then plays they have designed or selected themselves until they are performed. The participants should have fun trying something out playfully and presenting what they have come up with themselves in front of others. Of course, they should also be prepared to deal with their own personality, their feelings, to admit them and to reflect on them. But the main thing is, they want to create something completely new together.

1st piece “Love and other disasters” (2013) – Designed by the group itself.

As a result of the absurdities of the relationship dramas and the obtuseness and resistance to counseling of the couples who come to him, the therapist ultimately becomes more and more desperate and can only reach for the bottle. His patients do not want to change at all, but only want to continue their quarrels uninhibited in front of the therapist Dr. Slibowitz. When he also falls in love with a client, the chaos is perfect. In between, scenes from classical literature were also incorporated, all of them dealing with the often absurd moments of love between the sexes. The play was then so successfully spiced up choreographically and musically with dance interludes and vocal performances that it was performed twice as a result of the great audience response.

2nd piece “The Odyssey” – freely adapted from Homer by E. Schoppmann (2014)

This time the newly assembled group chose a classic work of world literature, Homer’s Odyssey by Homer, but very freely and parodically designed by Edzard Schoppmann, who updates, streamlines and lightens the text by means of many original directorial ideas and relies heavily on physical theater and slapstick elements. This elaborate stage production was staged in a large theater hall and by Jürgen Albrecht in a highly professional manner.

He added many more absurd-comical elements, especially through dancing and singing, so that the piece seemed almost unbearably funny. The fact that almost all male Greek warriors were portrayed by women also contributed to this, so that their crude sexualized youthful language, their masculine impertinence and military demeanor seemed doubly ridiculous. Achill, Ajax, Helena, Paris, Cassandra. Polyphemus, Poseidon, Hermes, Zirze, Calypso and others. Heroines and gods of the Odyssey appeared, but also the Loreley and King Alberich from the Saga of the Nibelungs. This colorful mix was enriched by countless allusions, e.g. to the current EU loan negotiations with Greece and the dearly held prejudices about apparent Greek habits, which added to the play’s appeal. Wonderful also “Harry Hermes”, who commented in the style of a soccer reporter on the battle between Trojans and Greeks and, among other things, lamented some unfair “fouls”.

The forced stay of the Greeks with the sorceress Zirze (portrayed as a “tranny”) was transferred to the red light milieu, whereby in addition to Odysseus 1, his fictitious alter ego (Odysseus 2) also appeared, so that there were flashbacks and reflections between the two – also about the meaning and purpose of wars. The scene when the Trojans saw the wooden horse of the Greeks and performed a carnival-like dance of joy was also stunningly funny. This also includes the psychedelic dance of the female Lotophages, to whose irresistible charm the Greeks almost succumbed. The scene with the one-eyed Polyphemus and the Greeks around Odysseus, who gouge out the former’s eye and then mock him, was one of the highlights of the unique play thanks to brilliant acting and successful slapstick interludes, with the main actors/actresses demonstrating great acting skills overall.

3rd piece “Blind Date” after Clemens Schäfer (2015)

The attraction of the play chosen by the next group is that the actors/actresses on stage play audience sitting in the theater and wondering why the performance does not start. They pass the time with growing uncertainty, with impatience, indignation, boredom, each in his own way. You stare ahead, look at the clock, fall asleep, start to use the surprisingly remaining time. The stage, which remains empty, becomes a platform for self-presentation. The group dissolves into individuals, re-forms into an ensemble that entertains itself. Relationship crises between married couples are unabashedly acted out, a suicide who wants to use the performance for a publicized suicide to draw attention to his terrible fate fails miserably as a result of his inadequate preparations and is berated by the others as a bungler. Another is finally mistaken for a well-known actor and forced by force to perform anything, so that the visit to the theater was not completely wasted.

The latter, full of despair, shows his “arts” as a flea circus director, whereby his “fleas” take on a life of their own and everyone goes into ecstatic convulsions of fear; the world’s best onion cutter presents his modest arts – scenes of egocentric people who completely lack empathy for others – just like in real life, where “theater” is often enough. In this way, the audience is held up a mirror of their behavior in the theater, but also in their everyday lives. This time, among other things, several artistic interludes were included to emphasize the seemingly unreal nature of these scenes. Here, too, there were 2 performances in a row due to the large crowd.

From 31.8.21 started our new theater AG at the comprehensive school Lohmar under the direction of the well-known Bonn actress, theater teacher and director Vanessa Topf, who we could engage for this creative project instead of our previous theater teacher Jürgen Albrecht. Unfortunately, this project had to be temporarily postponed until August 2022 due to the reintroduction of mandatory masks at schools.

Migration project “Meet your neighbors” – JIK funding: 5 T €

“Meet Your Neighbors” is a project that initiates and promotes conversations between people with and without a history of migration and flight throughout Germany. The goals of the project are to,

  • To empower people with migration and refugee histories and increase their participation in society,
  • Enable dialogue and exchange at eye level,
  • to network people, actors and organizations with each other and
  • to promote democratic coexistence and social cohesion.

Together with associations, initiatives and migrant self-organizations, Meet Your Neighbors designs and organizes events that promote dialogue and encounters between people with and without a history of migration and flight.

The event concept is deliberately kept open, so that it can be adapted to the ideas of the actors and the local conditions. From biographical workshops to multilingual storytelling salons or future workshops – we are open to different formats of encounter! Meet Your Neighbors finances the majority of the costs incurred. We support the conception, press work and realization of the event. We activate our network and take care of journalistic and photographic and documentary support.” …

What Meet Your Neighbors Changes

At Meet Your Neighbors, people with shared and diverse experiences meet in a safe space. This can create networks and relationships that can have a positive impact on neighborhood cohesion. But Meet Your Neighbors goes one step further: political demands are to be derived and formulated from the stories and experiences of people with migration and refugee histories. Local politics and political decision-makers are therefore actively involved in the project in order to facilitate access to networks and work.

Where are the Meet Your Neighbors events held?

The events can take place anywhere people can come together and feel comfortable. Whether a location is suitable also depends on the event format and the number of participants. In previous project cycles, events were often held in bookstores, libraries, and other cultural venues. www.wirmachendas.jetzt We would like to start this project in 2023 with Wirmachen das.Jetzt and Migrapolis – Haus der Vielfalt in Bonn, among others.

Intercultural projects at the BKO – JIK funding: 6 T €

Exchange with Bethlehem + St. Petersburg, June 2019 (Photo: GS)

From 2009-19 we have carried out many intercultural projects (theater, music, lectures as well as workshops on the symbol “Angel of Cultures” with young people from many countries. In June 2022, after a long Corona break, workshops will again be held with a group from Bethlehem.

More info at: www.bk-opladen.de