Fruits of labour – Volunteering in Dortmund’s Star in the North
As an adult, who knows adolescent children from close by, one is not only surprised when 17-year old Achraf says he wants to give something of the good back he received. One is also incredulous and wants to know more-asking Achraf himself and the adults who know him. Result: He genuinely seems to mean what he says. And he behaves like it.
As child in 2009, he began to visit the Star in the North – the German wortundtat project. Today he works as a volunteer: he plays with the children, helps to distribute food or he tidies up – he does everything that needs doing and what he is allowed to take over in his capacity as a “semi-skilled helper”. Kathrin Beyer, who has been the pedagogical director at the Star for two years, confirms that he is very reliable: “Since I’ve come here, he has been helping as a matter of course. He makes a great effort when he is working with the children.”
“I like fairness and that people act according to clear rules.”
Clear rules help
In 2021, Achraf is still volunteering at Stern – here at the Christmas party dressed as a skier (right).
However, at the moment Achraf is only able to volunteer at the Star twice a week. With an average grade of 1.9, he is 18 months away from his A-Levels. Apart from that, he plays in a football club and has recently completed a referee course. “I like fairness and that people act according to clear rules. That is why I enjoy refereeing”, he says.
And fairness, justice and rules were the matters, which he liked at the Star during his very first visits as a child: “That is why we don’t have chaos here and that again helps us to live better together. ”Only a few of his contemporaries shared and share his view. Achraf is the only one of his childhood group, who “stuck” with the Star.
“A cool facility”
“This is genuinely a cool facility, where one can learn a lot, including the Christian faith and similar things”, he says. His parents are Muslims who consciously live according to their faith. But they didn’t have a problem with him experiencing different things. “On the contrary; they think it is okay that I want to expand my knowledge. “His former friends only have the street as their point of contact. “They want to be cool, disregard rules and sometimes really screw up. I had a look at what they are doing, but this is simply not for me. “Instead he wants to convey to the kids at the Star that one can do things differently; that one can have fun not in spite of but especially because of the rules and that the people from the Star in the North are ready to help.
Read other news about our work in Germany
The family meeting center “Star in the North” celebrates a belated birthday. Former visitor reports on the importance of the “Star” for his development as a child.
In Dortmunder Stern im Norden, Karen Prause supports parents from the neighborhood on topics related to education, health or living and working in Germany.
We had asked for support for the work of our partners in the Republic of Moldova, Greece and Germany. Read here how we were able to help until the beginning of April 2022.