Life as a European volunteer in Stuttgart, Germany
In recent years we’ve seen a large number refugees coming to Europe due to war and other disasters in their home countries, many of them come to Germany to seek asylum. German government provides refugees with language and integration courses but for many newcomers, that’s not enough to successfully integrate to the new society. For this reason, many other organizations, like Jugendwerk, organize additional projects with refugees. Since 2014 Jugendwerk der AWO Württemberg has been running “AG Grenzenlos” project and working with Heumaden and Botnang (in Stuttgart) refugee shelters.
Since March 2017 our volunteers have been working with refugee kids from Botnang camp on a theater play project. The name of the play is “Der Fuchs geht um” (eng. “The fox goes around”), it’s about a fox who got lost, and has been separated from her family and friends. On her quest to find the home the Fox meets lots of other animals of a different kind, who kindly offers the fox help finding her home. In the end, the fox didn’t find her home, but she doesn’t feel lonely anymore because on this journey she had made lots of friends. The theater play refers to one of the biggest problems that refugees are facing – loosing home. At the same time the play shows that there is a solution to the problem, there is always lots of kind people who are ready to help and make you feel like at home again.
In the beginning, this project looked like a very difficult task for our volunteers, because many kids were relatively young (around 6-10 years old) and most of them had no previous theater experience. Another obstacle, in the beginning, was a constant change of participating kids, one week the used to be more kids coming to practice the play, the next week less and etc. Things got much easier when our volunteers started working only with the most dedicated group of kids, who attended all practice sessions.
A day before the final show the volunteers did a dress rehearsal at the theater. Kids were extremely excited to be in a real theater, for some of them it was the first performance on a stage. During the break between rehearsals one of the kids said “I’m really happy that you took us today to this theater”, it was a very touching moment for our volunteers. The next day kids were in the same great mood but during the general rehearsal some of them started showing signs of stage fright, luckily they managed to overcome it. Shortly before the show some kids started saying “nobody is coming to see our show” and they were very surprised to see lots of people coming to the theater, suddenly they became shy and started hiding behind the stage. The play went really well and in the end kids were very proud of themselves, they did a great job!
If you want to know more about volunteering with refugees or our other projects visit: https://www.jugendwerk24.de or contact us firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂