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RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.

by Cameron Project Group
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.
RespAct! Children stand up for their communities.

Our RespAct summer camp for children and adolescents in the Berlin districts Kreuzberg and Neukölln was a full success. Between July 24 and August 4, 100 children from socially disadvantaged communities took part in the RespAct program, this year carried out in the Karl-Weise-Grundschule and the intercultural youth center Loyal e.V.

Getting to know your environment…
In a sporty and playful way, the two weeks were devoted to environmental protection in the children’s neighbourhood. Together with Stadtnatur Berlin, the children got to know about animals in the nearby Hasenheide park and learned about their district in an engaging neighbourhood rallye. What became obvious: Kreuzberg and Neukölln both have a lot of beautiful places where the children like to play and have fun, but the young participants also named some problems they face in their environment – e.g. polluted playgrounds, littering and unsafe areas, to name a few.

…and shape it!
Under the slogan “RespAct your Neighbourhood”, the children not only learned to formulate their interests, but also to actively promote them. Therefore, a large part of the summer camp was to consider together how problems such as waste separation and avoidance can be approached. In an upcycling workshop the children created their own bags, made of old t-shirts, separated waste and learned how to recycle its raw materials. In cooperation with BSR, we entered the streets and swung the brooms to make the nearby playgrounds clean and safe again. In addition, we visited the BSR waste collection center to take a closer look at where the whole of the garbage we produce is going to land.

Present your ideas in the Town Hall
At the end of the RespAct summer camp, the participating children visited the Neukölln Town Hall, where they met representatives of various political parties. The children presented what they had learned over the past two weeks and formulated their desires and ideas for their neighborhood. The ideas ranged from additional garbage cans and safer playgrounds to an increasing number of bikeways in their districts.

Afterwards, the RespAct summer camp concluded at a closing ceremony with all participants and their families. And many happy smiles on the children’s faces.

Best wishes,

Your RespAct team

Together. Clean. Active.
Our RespAct project on beautifying Kreuzberg playgrounds, took another leap. The INA Kita in Kreuzberg has agreed to jump-start the initiative and provide space next to the playgrounds to house toys, balls, and other playground equipment for children to play with. Then, when the children are done, the toys can be returned to the space and stored safely until the next child wants to use the public space.

Children take it to the streets
As part of the project, children also formulate their wishes for an improved and more beautiful neighbourhood. Together, we take their desires to the streets. Previous campaigns among others targeted the urgent need for cleaning up dog dirt from the streets and pay attention to dump waste properly. In order to achieve sustainable impact, we seek talks with parents, neighbours and teachers to take the waste problem centre stage.

A summer full of RespAct
Meanwhile, summer is getting closer and the RespAct team is getting prepared for the 2017 summer camp for children and adolescents in Berlin. Between July 24 and August 4 there will be 10 days of fun, interactive learning and ideas on how to improve the Neukölln and Kreuzberg neighbourhoods. The agenda comprises workshops on environmental topics such as waste separation and avoidance, upcycling, excursions and a neighbourhood rallye. Following the objectives of last year’s summer camp, RespAct aims to reach even more children from socially deprived neighbourhoods this year. The RespAct modules strengthen children's self-efficacy, resilience, civic participation and know-how on the preservation of nature.

For the 2017 summer camp we still have to cover costs for the children’s meals and care. Therefore, we would ask you to make a donation under https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/respact-children-stand-up-for-their-communities/. To make all children benefit the most from the program and support them in their personal development.

Best wishes and lots of thanks for your support,


Your RespAct Team 

Characteristics depicted on flowers
Characteristics depicted on flowers

RespAct in schools, libraries and youth centres

Last time we reported about the grand opening of Jens-Nydahl Primary School’s new library in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Since then, there was a lot of RespAct action in the district in general and in the school in particular. Last week, one 30 children took part in a project day, spending time in getting to know camera work, crafting flowers and describing them with individual characteristics. As a matter of fact, fun sports pedagogical games were part of the project day as well. Furthermore, the children formulated their desires for changes on nearby playgrounds in Kreuzberg – which will be the next project carried out on behalf of RespAct. Playgrounds as safe spaces and places for learning adventures and sports events contribute to the quality of living in the neighbourhood – both for the children and inhabitants.

In February, we also had the opportunity to pilot RespAct in the youth club CHIP in Kreuzberg. Children and adolescents from the neighbourhood participated in our approved modules.

Exciting spring and summer camp ahead

The next RespAct programs are already in the making. Through our multiplier strategy we are going to reach a lot of teachers with our workshops as well – in particular those educating in welcome classes and supporting refugee children with the RespAct modules.

Furthermore, the RespAct team is in the middle of preparations for the upcoming summer camps 2017 in Berlin. The participants will be children with refugee background in particular. Besides conveying exciting science experiments, the camps will be a catalyst to overcome social and cultural barriers and supporting children in a new society.  

Best wishes and lots of thanks for your support,

Your RespAct team

Children formulating changes for playgrounds
Children formulating changes for playgrounds
Overview of Kreuzberg Mittelpunktbibliothek
Overview of Kreuzberg Mittelpunktbibliothek
Cansel Kiziltepe (SPD) & Caroline Assad (RespAct)
Cansel Kiziltepe (SPD) & Caroline Assad (RespAct)

“Reading promotes language development and continues to develop [the mind]”, said Cansel Kiziltepe, the SPD spokesperson who served as the guest of honor at the grand opening of Jens-Nydahl Primary School’s new library.

In Berlin, Jens-Nydahl Grundschule is known for being one of the most difficult primary schools in the city. The school is located in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Berlin where many children come from homes with unemployed or underemployed parents, are non-native German speakers and are often children of economic or forced migrants. Parents with the means to do so, often skirt around districting laws to send their children to other schools.

Far from being complacent, the leadership of the school has acknowledged the urgent need to address the school’s negative image and have reached out to RespAct to help them reenvision education and opportunity for both the school and its students. The library opening is one of several initiatives to better equip the school to address the needs of its students. The new library at Jens-Nydahl Grundschule will be one of the few public spaces in Kreuzberg where students have an oasis of calm, fully stocked and ready to help them learn and grow.

“The school we work with in Kreuzberg has had many image problems”, says RespAct Project Manager Caroline Assad.  “Being a segregated school in Kreuzberg, often the school clients [children and parents] were made responsible for that problematic image problem.”

Over the last year, RespAct’s project managers and coordinators have conducted a series of workshops with the school to help them overcome some of their most pressing challenges. Earlier this year, we conducted a 360 degree survey meant to give us a general overview of the challenges that the school is facing. From that survey we developed evidence-based methods for bringing the stakeholder's perceptions in alignment with each other. Specifically through creating more platforms for exchange.

RespAct uses collaboration and direct partnerships with the communities that we work in to find solutions to local challenges, and where children are active participants in building a stronger and safer democracy.

Working with children to build stronger democracies means that we also need to work with teachers and educators. “Working our way through with the teachers on their perceptions and judgements on the situation and the people they are serving, we have gone a long way in helping the educators become aware of their responsibilities and their scope of action instead of focusing on what's out of their control”, Caroline explains.

The Jens-Nydahl library opening was not a RespAct sponsored event. But through our work with Jens-Nydahl Grundschule, and the fact that most of our staff members live in and around Kreuzberg, the school, neighborhood and kids all have a special place in our hearts. Being able to work closely with one school in our local neighborhood reinforces our commitment to work with children from Berlin’s toughest neighborhoods.

Every child deserves a quality education and a safe neighborhood to call home. In difficult urban spaces where children, particularly girls, are one of the most vulnerable groups, safe public spaces like libraries and playgrounds are necessary components of building an inviting and nurturing environment.  

Kiziltepe reading to children at the library
Kiziltepe reading to children at the library
Door to the Library
Door to the Library

We rarely pull back the veil here at RespAct to talk about things other than the work that we do directly with children or schools. While our project does the necessary work of mentoring and educating children and encouraging social participation—we think that it’s time to let you know what else we’ve been up to lately.

This past summer has been one of tremendous growth for RespAct. We held the first ever RespAct summer camp, have participated in 10 different family and community sports events and we’ve officially rolled out our new Multiplication Training Strategy.

RespAct’s Multiplication Strategy recognizes one fundamental truth in our efforts push for more inclusive educational reform: any effort that does not put teachers and educators at the center of its efforts is incomplete.

That’s why RespAct’s multiplication strategy emphasizes the role of teachers in instituting meaningful, systemic change in making Germany’s education system more inclusive of children with diverse backgrounds. We do this by taking our curriculum and teaching it to educators with diverse classrooms on our methods and curriculum to provide an inclusive, high-quality education for all of their students.

In the past three months alone, we’ve participated in two different, high-impact events to pass our methods on to teachers with diverse classrooms. At Kienbaum, an annual, three-day conference for educators, RespAct taught over 80 participants our program curriculum. Our workshop focused on migration and refugee children, a topic of particular importance for many teachers in Berlin. With Teach First Germany, we were able to offer a training to the next generation of German educators who will use our techniques and methods in their classrooms.

The work that we do with teachers allows for us to multiply our impact and reach as many children as possible. Our impact cannot and should not be limited by the physical capacity of our staff. When we open up our tested methodologies and train teachers on how to utalize it for maximum impact and effect in their own classrooms, we are ushering in a new generation of educators who are more equipped to cater to the unique needs of their most diverse students. 

In addition to our efforts with educators, RespAct has also held it's first ever summer camp! 

Our Summer Camp program lasted for 2 weeks and saw more than 80 students from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Berlin’s inner-city learning about recycling, upcycling and the environment. You can learn more about our camp by following this link to watch a short video that we've put together!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Cameron Project Group

Location: Berlin - Germany
Website:
Project Leader:
CamP Group
Social enterprise focused on child protection and safe communities.
Berlin, Berlin Germany
$6,166 raised of $10,000 goal
 
142 donations
$3,834 to go
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