Germany

 

wortundtat in Dortmund’s social hotspot: the Star in the North

The families of 36,000 children in Dortmund are Hartz IV recipients. Their everyday life is often marked by hardship, a lack of perspective or even neglect and violence. These problems are particularly prevalent in Dortmund’s Nordstadt – a melting pot of people from many different countries and an area where wortundtat partner Star in the North tries to make a difference. In a large meeting centre, children get room to play, attention and care – parents find people to talk to and opportunities to exchange experiences and young people too have space for their activities. With the help of wortundtat, the Star in the North customised the house near Borsigplatz directly for this purpose.

Children are made to feel welcome and valued. Apart from a free lunch and help with homework, there is still enough time for playing together, cookery and baking courses, physical activities and just rollicking about. Music is played by children with home-made instruments. Where necessary, children are given individual tuition – for example to learn German. Children under six and their mothers are coming on several days a week. Whilst the little ones can play, their mothers have the opportunity to speak to other mothers or to the helpers.

Adults too are welcome. Parents, whose knowledge of German is not sufficient, get assistance from the helpers when they have to talk to the authorities, or fill in application forms or if more complicated issues have to be discussed at school or the doctor.

More than a place to play: Christian faith – a key aspect

The Star in the North does not only want to look after and care for children. Everybody coming to this facility shall feel how important he is and that he is loved – just the way God has created him or her. It is close to the carers’ hearts that children are not only given a perspective for their future life, but that they also learn something of the Christian message, which motivates the helpers.

Apart from activities organised by the Star in the North, the facility also provides numerous groups from the city to carry out their own events: it has, for example, become a regular meeting point of a football fan club, a choir rehearses in the Star and a prayer room provides people with the opportunity to “pray around the clock”(24-7 Prayer).