Give something back

 

Achraf: The former Kindertreff visitor is now a voluntary helper

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.”

Clear rules help

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.