gEMiDe - About us
gEMiDe – Project to promote (Förderung) civic activities (bürgerschaftliches Engagement) of migrants and naturalised Germans through volunteering (Ehrenamt / Freiwilligenarbeit)
In the city of Hanover, capital of the german province of lower saxony, almost 510 000 people are living. 75 000 of them have another nationality than the german one. 162 nationalities are represented in Hanover, the german one included. Immigrants and local inhabitants both respect each other, but in daily life only have contact points at music or cultural events. Representatives of the different migrant groups have built good organisations in their own ethnic minorities, which fact can be seen at the bigger groups also in public. But communication in daily life between immigrants and local inhabitants is mostly happening on business level. In privat life, everybody is staying in his own environment.
The manager of the project, Mrs. Hülya Feise, founded gEMiDe from the basic of the women’s initiative “Smiling Face”. This initiative took place in 1999 with support of the “Referat für interkulturelle Angelegenheiten” (department for intercultural affairs) of the city of Hanover. In the following years, Mrs. Feise built gEMiDe systematicly through voluntary work.
gEMiDe is forming an interface between migrants which are interested in volunteering and indigent, lonesome or just interested Germans. gEMiDe matches migrant volunteers with organisations or persons seeking voluntary help. Main activities carried out by the volunteers are befriending, youth and sports activities. Some of the migrant volunteers for the first time are seeing the fact, that e.g. a german household isn’t looking much different than their own one. They enjoy the fact not to be seen as a “foreigner” at the first sight, but more as a human being who is doing something meaningful.
“Since I’m living here in germany, I always was seen as a turkish person. I always get questions about the situation in my home country. But since I’m working as a voluntary teacher there are coming other questions from the people; now my person and the content of my work constitutes the focus: what do you think about the work with illiterates? Or: Why did you become a fairy tale narrator?” (Naciye K., female volunteer of “gEMiDe”)
Basic target of the “gEMiDe”-project is the stimulation of mutual integration readiness, the individual abilities and the mutual acceptation between germans and migrants. The voluntary work which is done by “gEMiDe” has a double positive effect: it benefits the society and helps migrants to get in contact with the society in which they live. They are qualified to communicate with each other and with german families and individuals on the same level.
A further target of the project is to encourage self-help potential between the migrant volunteers and to qualify them to solve social problems and to get social contacts in society. The project enables and helps them to bring in their story of life in interaction with the new environment.
“I’m 13 years old now and visit the 7th grade. Sometimes I’m looking after children when their mothers have to go to parents’ evenings or have important sessions. I like to spend my time with the kids because they like me. When I was in the 5th grade, I had to change to another school because I had so bad grades. I always felt bad at this time because I had problems at school. I also felt that the other guys disliked me. They tried to provoke me because I wasn’t wearing the right label. Now I’m the best student in my class. I have learned: ‘You can be as you are. You just have to be good and smart.” (Aysegül T., volunteer of “gEMiDe”)
“gEMiDe” has 97 male and female volunteers at this time, mostly from the Minor Asia and Middle-East, e.g. from Turkey and the other surrounding states Iraq, Iran, Georgia etc. At two times in a week, there is also offered a german language course by the “Volkshochschule Hannover” since January 2003 and which is specially made for the requirements of the volunteers.
Individuals, families and people with a handicap benefit from the visits and the engagement of the voluntary workers. The project was build from January 2000 until June 2001 by Mrs. Hülya Feise voluntarily. gEMiDe worked with fee money from 01.07.2001 – 31.12.2001. Since 01.01.2002 there is provided a part-time place for the manager (by the city of Hanover). Project supporter is the BTEU e.V. (Bund Türkisch Europäischer Unternehmer/ Turkish-European Employers’ Association).
Tel: 0511 - 2135363