The association "Le sourire de Lucie" owes its existence to Lucie Radisson (21) from Toulon, France, a severely handicapped young woman who impresses with her incredible will.
Born with the very rare Sjorgren-Larsson syndrome (scoliosis, muscle wasting, extreme dryness of the skin, spasticity, etc.), Lucie had to stay in a medical bath constantly until a drug was found to relieve her unbearable skin pain. When Lucie was nine years old, however, the manufacturer stoppee the production of the drug due to a lack of "customers". This became the occasion for a successful campaign that she and her parents and friends lead against the manufacturer. Here, Lucie and her family find contact with a large number of similar victims of extremely rare diseases.
To enforce the common concerns, the association "Le sourire de Lucie" is founded. As she grows older, Lucie, influenced by a positive outlook on life and a clear sense of what is needed, can significantly influence the club, which provides support to many seriously ill children. They are helped with wheelchairs, ambulances, disabled homes, holiday programs, medical loans, Christmas gifts and much more.
Lucie's view of the future is so positive despite the progressing illness that she and her association have started to build a house with ten apartments, a largely self-sufficient, livable future for 30 seriously handicapped people in the center of Toulon with a chance for further education and to enable their own professional life. "Les P'tits Bonheurs" should be ready in 2019.
Shahwan Borto (20), from a Yazidi refugee family living in Cologne today, exemplifies integration, coupled with a well-designed mission in various projects initiated by him.
Shahwan speaks 6 languages, is interested in social sciences and politics and wants to study law. As a committed student spokesman he holds a farewell speech for the outgoing headmaster, who impressed the Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is present, to offer him an internship at his office in the Bundestag.
With "Donate Your Pledge - Youth Moves!", Shahwan achieves that returnable bottles are no longer thrown away in schools, but collected and sold, and the proceeds are used to support social institutions. At the same time, educational lectures on environmental protection will be held.
In his project "Learning through Engagement - Youth for Youth", young people are concerned with the education and integration of 29 young refugees. They offer tuition and German lessons.
As a recreational activity, Shahwan organizes trips to museums, exhibitions or to the German Bundestag, so that the young refugees get an impression of the political events in Germany. In addition, they can make contacts with employers on the monthly "engagement day". Together with his brother, he founds the association "No limits for help - youth shows courage", collects clothing and medicine throughout Germany and sends them to needy Yazidis in Iraq.
In addition, Shahwan's annual "Peace Cup", a charity football tournament with more than 300 youths, is the venue for a political "get-together" that deals with peace, social justice, anti-racism, human rights and refugee policy.
Antonia Ricke (22) from Hamburg, who is deaf, admirably engages with deaf refugees since the age of 14, ie people with a double handicap. She helps them out of this discrimination by networking with equally disadvantaged people and well-conceived concepts for learning the sign language.
Antonia is now studying psychology and works on an honorary basis as chair of the interest group for deaf students in Hamburg (iDeas). Her special commitment is towards young deaf refugees, who are exposed to severe discrimination on many different levels.
Not only do they belong to the excluded group of refugees, they are also communicatively isolated in their circles because of their deafness and are often stigmatized and rejected. As a result, they often receive inadequate information, for example regarding structural processes in the accommodation or their legal situation in a completely new country for them. Together with volunteer colleagues Antonia helps with regular meetings to network with each other and organizes language courses to learn the German Sign Language, which is vital to communicate without obstacles, to get information or to handle administrative procedures with the help of interpreters for spoken language and sign language.
On social media, Antonia made a great contribution to education through her page "deaf refugees welcome" where she reports on her work, motivates people to help and reveals prejudices.
Dennis and Patrick Weinert (24/22) from Rheda-Wiedenbrück show their strong will to educate and improve social emergencies in their photo and film work and show how their concerns can be spread despite the most adverse circumstances.
Initially working as a young entrepreneur, the turning point comes through an advertising contract that earns some money. Now they have the opportunity to devote time and creativity to "social injustice".
They travel to the slums of Manila, meet young children who work in a charcoal factory, talk to fathers who sell their organs to feed the family. They learn of criminals their motivations to trade in weapons and drugs. By living in the midst of these people, the brothers also experience absolute poverty, illness and despair. This encourages them to use their artistic talent and to draw attention to the important problems of our time with documentary content.
As part of their debut photo book, "A World in Distress", they report on child labor in Burkina Faso's gold mines, highlight climate change and its impact on nomadic tribes in the Sahel, document human trafficking in Nepal, and investigate slavery and gang violence in Haiti. They generate donations of € 5,000 that benefit local organizations. The results of her work are made available to a large audience through lectures, social media and TV and radio contributions. The brothers have since made a film that can be ordered via the Internet to a self-chosen Obolus and to finance their further work.
Rahmatollah Ghasemi (24), a refugee from Afghanistan, shows an extraordinary effort to better cope with the flow of refugees along the Austrian-German border.
The young man, who also speaks English, Farsi, Urdu, Arabic and meanwhile quite good German in addition to his native language Dari, distinguishes himself as a translator during the refugee wave from August 2015 to February 2016 in Salzburg with his untiring volunteer and unpaid commitment to the approximately 350,000 people passing through.
Due to his great sense of responsibility, organizational talent and his in every way sociable being, he helps significantly to look after the masses of people and to pass on organized. Therefore, Rahmatollah is appointed after a short time as the coordinator of all interpreters.
During these months the refugees arrive day and night in Salzburg. To be on the spot at any time for emergencies, Rahmatollah quit his job in a Salzburg restaurant and even spent the night in refugee tents at the train station.
Following the closure of the Balkan route in February 2016, Rahmatollah is also committed to supporting the Greek transport of the aid organization "Farmers Help Farmers". 22 tons of food, medicine and clothing left over at the refugee centers are packed together and sent to Greece.
The Salzburg Provincial Government is currently establishing a pool of translators to be used in hospitals, kindergartens, care facilities and in crisis situations. Rahmatollah Ghasemi is now also used as coordinator.
Verena Steiner (26) from Lienz, Austria, rescued a young refugee from the highest calamity with a spontaneous, dangerous mission.
The young woman has been involved with the Lienz water rescue since her early youth and is a water-spring rescuer. Training as a lifeguard reveals a deep desire to save lives, but when it really comes to life and death, a clear mind, courage and skill is required.
On Corpus Christi Day 2016, Verena Steiner happens to be with her little son at the Draupark playground, when she unexpectedly becomes a life-saver. A cyclist passed her and shouted that someone had fallen into the water. Verena sees the man drift by and jumps without hesitation into the water. Dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, she floats after the unconscious. It is a 21-year-old Somali who slipped on a wet stone on the riverbank and fell into the raging Drava.
"You get such an adrenaline rush that you do not feel the cold at all. In addition, one develops an incredible power in such a moment ", explains the 26-year-old after her employment.
So she manages to keep the motionless body above the water and to swim to the shore despite the torrential current. There, the Somali is first supplied by the summoned emergency doctor and taken to the hospital in Lienz, where he is hospitalized for observation. In addition to hypothermia, he suffered only minor injuries.
Verena's reaction when she learned that she was proposed for Filippas Engel: "I have acted on the motto of the Austrian Water Rescue - fight wet death - and therefore see the greatest satisfaction in the successful rescue of a human life. However, I'm quite uncomfortable with how this has been made a big deal ".
Viktoria Schmidt (29) from Freising develops with "nearBees e.V." an answer to the threat to our environment and nature through the progressive extinction of bees.
In the young woman's family, beekeeping and agriculture have a long tradition. As a young hobby beekeeper she already dealt extensively with the "living together of humans and bees" in 2012 in her master thesis - nearBees is the result of this work. Bees not only produce unique honey, they also pollinate the plants in our natural environment. Almost a third of the food depends directly or indirectly on the bees. With nearBees and local honey next door, she wants to contribute to the preservation of local beekeeping and a thriving nature. With the company founded in 2014, Viktoria is actively campaigning against bee mortality by helping local beekeepers to market their honey. In addition, an online portal brings beekeepers and honey lovers together with just a few clicks over the Internet. Almost 1,500 customers can already order the honey conveniently at home and receive immediate added value by purchasing the bee next door.
With a worry-free package for honey marketing, especially beekeepers are supported by a few people, who are often overwhelmed with the honey marketing. In addition, sponsorships for bee colonies are mediated and companies are sought who accept honey designed as employee or customer gifts. Through the mediation of 3,500 honey packets this year already 16,000 € can be distributed to amateur beekeepers. NearBees is financed by a 15% commission that does not cover its costs.
Ultimately, the public is informed in detail about the importance of bees for the economy and our biodiversity through public relations, a large number of trade fair appearances and a strong social media presence. Since bee mortality and its effects on our nature do not stop at state borders, Victoria wants to progressively expand the reach of the initiative internationally.
"Passau verbindet" ("Passau connects") emerges from the student flood initiative "Passau räumt auf“ ("Passau cleans up"), honored in 2013 by Filippas Engel.
Similarly spontaneous, another initiative emerges in 2015, which sees itself as an information, coordination and placement portal for short-term assistance to refugees. A Facebook page bundles and distributes information for all those who want to get involved with refugees, clarifies the current situation and documents important relationships for the helpers. Initially, the main focus will be on first aid in the clearing house, with up to 3,500 refugees at peak times. For this purpose a helper shift system is established, whereby a permanent supply of the refugees can be guaranteed.
The initiative is in constant communication with the authorities, discusses all upcoming topics on a weekly basis in the federal police headquarters and finds solutions. This facilitates the changing readiness of the authorities to work. Constant contact with local aid organizations allows donations to get where they are needed quickly. In addition, workshops, training and pastoral care for helpers are offered.
For the initiative, the meeting is on an equal footing between those who give help and those who accept it - networking with a lasting effect. The aim is to create a platform that also provides information on social, cultural, ethnic and religious projects in the medium and long term, as well as for refugees and refugees. "Because Passau connects us all."
Katharina Rietschle (25) from Karlsruhe shows with her strong will as a midwife the poorest to help, high sacrifice in the service of the next.
Katharina has been a registered midwife since she was 20 years old and initially works at the Marien-Klinik in Karlsruhe. Very early she feels the desire to work in Africa. Her main goal is to deepen the exchange of knowledge and experience with colleagues on the ground.
When the opportunity arose to help from the end of April to December 2015 in the "Mother Health International" birth house in Uganda, Katharina decides to take part. After the birth house is a non-profit company and funded only by donations, Katharina should pay for all costs themselves. She has to give up her job in the clinic, to insure herself, to bear the travel expenses, to take care of her accommodation and food on the spot and at the same time to make a voluntary contribution to the birth house. Immediately she starts a fundraiser in her environment to finance the project.
In Uganda, Katharina supports the midwives on site, she looks after many first and multiparous women, twin births and breech births. She rides her bike to the surrounding villages and visits pregnant women to carry out check-ups as well as to look after the women who have recently given birth and their newborn babies. Since there are no ultrasound or CTGs there, she is also allowed to get to know traditional African midwife art for monitoring mother and child through weekly meetings with her local colleagues.
Juliane Hoss (26) from Sindelfingen impresses with a comprehensive approach to communication problems between Germans and South Africans as well as between different ethnic groups within South Africa.
With the vision of overcoming social inequalities in South Africa and Germany, Juliane, together with others in South Africa, founds the association "Bridging Gaps e.V.". Since January 2014, camps have been organized in which young people from different social groups come together to get to know each other despite anchored prejudices, to overcome resentment and to work together for a common future for South Africa. In this project, participants are selected as facilitators who, after intensive preparation training, travel to other camps to guide new adolescents.
At the same time, former volunteers and students in Germany are to be motivated to continue their commitment to international understanding in their everyday lives. Instead of unilaterally trying to solve problems in Germany from other countries, "Bridging Gaps eV" will work together to reduce prejudice and racism in Germany and South Africa and, in the longer term, improve the educational opportunities of young people in South Africa Everyone will be able to take responsibility for their society.
Next summer, the University of Konstanz and the University of Pretoria would like to examine key aspects of this project from a scientific perspective and conduct basic research on racism.
"Jugendliche beraten Jugendliche" - JbJ - ("Youth counseling youth") is a commitment of young people within the framework of the Kinderschutzbund Neuwied especially for peers in the field of telephone care, which is also practiced in various other places. The group consists of 14 young people who volunteer to provide counseling services to children and adolescents.
"JbJ" is a complementary offer of "Nummer gegen Nummer eV". Every Saturday from 2 to 8 pm, specially trained young people are advised on this topic in an anonymous and open all-round counseling service for children and adolescents of all ages from all over Germany is open. All calls, even from mobile phones, are free. The main issues that consultants face are: body, appearance, health (43.7%), partnership and love (39.5%), sexuality (23.7%), and problems in the family (23%).
The young counselors are well acquainted with everyday culture, with the age-specific needs, fears and questions of callers. They are closer to peer-to-peer issues than adults, and thus have more direct, better, and faster access to them, and may be more helpful in solving problems.
The commitment of the young people is so remarkable because they not only give up a large part of their free time, but their telephone service despite burdens of the school (preparation for the Abitur, work experience or study/training) with joy and sympathy afford.