On the streets of Cologne in December, Anke and Elke Skwirblies and Andreas Zörbel were on the road again. The group has been involved with people on the streets for many years, sometimes maintaining personal contacts and offering assistance. Sometimes as a spontaneous conversation and sometimes with a lot of time in hand on a Saturday in December.
The commitment is important to our volunteers and they are always good meetings at eye level. A report on a day with the Cologne team from 2021 can be found here.
Bonn: hotel accommodation on holidays
The Bonn team around Anna and Christian Senftleben, Tanja Wiesner, Judith and Stefan John, Kai Werner and Jürgen Perteck were able to go one step further this year. Thus, one hotel enabled a total of three people to have a roof over their heads.
From December 22 to January 6, 2023, overnight accommodations could be provided with the help of generous donations from the Rotary Club Bonn-Rheinbrücke . We thank you very much for this opportunity in the name of the people we could make happy on this day !
Christian explains the background: “Due to the current energy-saving measures, the lives of the homeless have also become even more difficult. Passages are less heated, shop windows are less illuminated. There is an increase in assaults, especially on women.”
Quiet sleep for a few days
The joy and relief of no longer being exposed to sub-zero temperatures and the danger of assault, at least for a few days, was great. Simon, who lives on the street with his wife Nadja, was very touched: “With us, fate has struck so many times. Maybe fate means well with us for once today.”
Help with official matters
Beyond the specific relief action, we have remained in contact with the people on the street. This was also the case with Simon and his wife: The two had lost custody of their two children due to strokes of fate. Dealing with authorities caused them problems. The warm nights with a roof over their heads had given them both new courage to “finally sleep through the night again and wake up with a fresh head and good thoughts.”
Our Menschenfreude team is working to harness this good energy and pave the way for more help back to normalcy. For example, in obtaining new identification documents, applying for government assistance, and finding housing. Not only for Nadja and Simon, but for several people without a permanent residence from Bonn.
Cooperation launched: Homeless projects also with a school in Poland
The commitment to people without a fixed abode is to be expanded even further. Because not only in Germany, but also in Poland, more and more people are living on the streets. In cooperation with the “Gaudium et Studium Private IB High School” in Poznan, Poland, students are encouraged to help their fellow human beings. This is to take place together with their peers from our German partner schools in the Cologne and Bonn area. Talks to this effect are underway.
In November we had – Lars Ertzinger and Jürgen Perteck – the opportunity to give local young people an insight into our work. Thanks to principal Piotr Gulewicz and Aleksandra
on site ! This was followed by a walk-through at a homeless shelter, where we were able to talk to people and make further plans .
- Review of previous actions for people without fixed abode: On the road in Bonn 2020 – during the time of the Corona measures and On the road in Cologne 2021 (with video).
- “City Walks from the Perspective of a Homeless Person” – Information about this initiative here.
- Our press review provides an overview of reports in the media.
- More information about Menschenfreude: www.menschenfreude.org, on Instagram or Facebook.
- You can find insights into our other projects in our blog, for example.
- We sincerely ask you for donations that make our work possible. Thank you very much !
Donation account: Recipient: Menschenfreude e.V., IBAN: DE41 6609 0800 0006 6116 99 or via our Paypal button. We will issue a donation receipt for donations over 300€ or upon request.