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Robert Bosch Stiftung promotes volunteerism among young Muslims in Germany
Developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung
Within the framework of the “Yallah!” program, young Muslim volunteers aim to provide insights into their religion and initiate a dialog with non-Muslims. In March, 20 participants met for a two-day conference in Berlin, at which they shared ideas and learned more about fundraising, press work, and organizational development.
One of them is Yasser Haji Mohamad from Aleppo, Syria. He has lived in Mötzingen, southern Germany, for more than a year. “We have to talk more about Islam,” says the 19-year-old, who would like to study medicine in Germany. To this end, together with his friend Mehmet Arslan, he stared a “mobile dialog tent” in which Muslims can talk about Islam in German with one another. Non-Muslims can also take a quiz to find out more about the religion. Visitors to the tent have shown a great deal of interest and curiosity. “They want to know why we fast and ask questions about the role of women,” says Yasser. To him, painting a positive image of Islam is very important.
Hafssa El-Bouhamouchi, a 24-year-old from Bielefed, would also like people to gain a better understanding of her religion. With her team from the Hanover chapter of Muslimische Jugend in Deutschland e.V. (young Muslims in Germany), she has organized the “Tea Time” event series, which which sees Muslims invite non-Muslims for a cup of tea. The series has received funding from the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs. “Muslims must take ownership of the discourse about Islam once again,” says El-Bouhamouchi, who holds a degree in Islamic Studies. “We must speak up and help eliminate prejudice.”
Robert Bosch Stiftung supports the project within the framework of its “Yallah! Junge Muslime engagieren sich” (Young Muslims Volunteer) program, which funds projects and initiatives of young Muslims who want to make a difference in their surroundings. The selected projects receive 5,000 euros in funding. In addition, the Stiftung invites project representatives to take part in a two-day project management seminar, during which they learn skills in writing funding applications, fund management, and public relations.
More information on “Yallah!” can be found here.
Information for people who would like to apply for financial support from Robert Bosch Stiftung for their projects can be found here.
Bosch associates spark enthusiasm for technology and a start-up culture
More knowledge, more ability, a better future – for more than ten years, this has been the motto of “Wissensfabrik - Unternehmen für Deutschland e.V.“ (Knowledge Factory: Companies for Germany). The initiative focuses on two areas. The first is education, and the aim here is to get children and young people interested in technology and business. With entrepreneurship, Wissenfabrik’s second sphere of activity, the initiative caters to students and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. In order to promote a start-up culture in Germany, Wissensfabrik brings start-ups and established market actors together and provides them with intensive knowledge-sharing opportunities.
As one of the founding members of Wissensfabrik, Bosch is actively involved in a number of projects. The active participation of its associates in these projects is one of the company’s priorities. Some 100 associates, among them senior executives, contribute their time as mentors or trainers across Germany each year. There are also 500 apprentices who help spark enthusiasm for science and technology. One example of a successful project is “KiTec – Kinder erleben Technik” (KiTec: Children experience technology), within the framework of which Bosch cooperates with 225 schools and daycare centers. Together with the apprentices, children work on their own technical projects such as homemade insect hotels or treasure chests. In the new “IT2School” project, apprentices introduce schoolchildren to digital learning. At present, Bosch engages in around 300 educational partnerships with daycare centers and schools.
Bosch executives advise start-ups and students
Students and start-ups also benefit from the initiative: thanks to mentoring programs, young entrepreneurs can present their innovative, technology-oriented ideas to experienced executives, who provide feedback and advice to up-and-coming companies. For instance, Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch supervisory board, is active in the Weconomy start-up competition, where he spends a weekend supporting the candidates as an advisor. Until now, 180 start-ups have received valuable mentoring support through the Wissensfabrik.
Since it was founded in 2005, the initiative has cooperated with around 2,500 schools and daycare centers. 700,000 children across Germany have benefited from a range of projects that have enabled them to develop their creativity, their teamwork skills, and their inventiveness. In order to guarantee high-quality programs, the Wissensfabrik cooperates with universities. Moreover, scientists evaluate the pedagogical value of the learning materials and give their stamp of approval before they are used.
More information on the Wissensfabrik can be found here (only in German available).
Bosch India provides warm meals to underprivileged school children
In India, many needy families face a dilemma: if they send their children to school, they often have too little money left over to pay for food. And if children have to work, they do not have access to education, cannot learn an occupation, and thus cannot escape poverty.
In order to provide these children with educational opportunities, Bosch India is supporting the construction of a canteen kitchen not far from the city of Bengaluru. As soon as February, the kitchen is set to start delivering warm lunches to 15,000 school children each day in the vicinity of the new Bosch manufacturing site in Bidadi. There are many state schools in the region that are attended mainly by children from poor families. “With the offer of a warm meal, we are providing families with an incentive to send their children to school,” explains Om Parkash Goel of Bosch India. “But we are also creating jobs: we need 80 employees to run the kitchen.” In addition to funding the project and providing all the required utensils, Bosch has also supported the project with its expertise in the areas of project and purchasing management.
The Indian NGO Akshaya Patra (“food bowl”) has carried out the project. The foundation has supported the education of underprivileged children since 2000 by providing them warm, healthy meals. Today, the organization offers lunch to as many as 1.7 million children at 13,529 schools each day. It has a far-reaching logistical network and expertise in preparing and distributing food for canteen kitchens. While Akshaya Patra is funded with state subsidies, corporate donations are an indispensable part of its budget. Bosch was referred to the Akshaya Patra Foundation by associates that volunteer for the NGO.
More information on the Akshaya Patra Foundation can be found here.
Picture by Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Robert Bosch Stiftung is preparing for the future
New developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung
Robert Bosch Stiftung is responding to current global challenges with a new strategic direction that includes better integrating refugees, improving community, and strengthening access to education around the world. Effective immediately, the Stiftung is focusing its activities on the three following areas: “Migration, Integration, and Participation”, “Social cohesion in Germany and Europe”, and “Sustainable Living Spaces” At the same time, at its New Years reception on January 18, 2017 in Berlin, senior executives reviewed the Stiftung’s positive results for last year: in 2016, some 107.9 million euros went toward charitable causes (status of January 19, 2017).
“With the three new focal areas, we are addressing major, relevant topics,” said Ute-Micaela Dürig, the CEO of Robert Bosch Stiftung. “Thanks to the expertise we have acquired in the areas we have traditionally funded, we can also make a lasting contribution to these three new focal areas.” Last year, an expert commission put together by Robert Bosch Stiftung presented 99 recommended areas of action for Germany’s refugee policy, and also made suggestions with regard to improving integration. The main points are reflected in the country’s integration law, which recently went into effect. At the same time, the experts have supported pilot projects that show how social and cultural participation can succeed with innovative approaches.
Ute-Micaela Dürig, the CEO of Robert Bosch Stiftung
In order to promote European cohesion and thus the second focal point, the team has also created platforms that invite private citizens to take part in a constructive conversation about the continent’s future. One such platform was the “Europe 21” program highlight, which was organized on the occasion of the 2016 Leipzig book fair. At discussions, readings, and talks with authors, writers, scientists, journalists, and representatives of civil society discussed ways in which cross-border dialog could be organized.
The “Sustainable Living Spaces” focal point is closely linked to the Stiftung’s commitment to Africa. In cooperation with local partners, the Stiftung’s employees are committed to improving access to education across the continent and providing young people with a fair starting point. In 2016, the first science conference to take place in Africa marked an important milestone.
More information on Robert Bosch Stiftung’s new strategy can be found here.
All pictures by Manuel Frauendorf.
Primavera e.V. collected more donations than ever in 2016
More than 25 years ago, 10 Bosch associates founded Primavera e.V. with the aim of giving children from the world’s poorer regions opportunities for a brighter future. Since then, the initiative has grown continuously. Today, more than 1,040 volunteers are active with Primavera, many of them former Bosch associates. Their commitment pays off: in 2016, Primavera collected more donations than ever. At the end of October, the sum already stood at 620,811.65 euros, 22.1 percent above the unusually successful previous year.
The donations support projects around the world that help disadvantaged children and youth. They focus on teaching paths out of poverty and giving young people opportunities for a brighter future. To this end, the organization supports a number of schools or educational activities that provide participants with the tools they need to lead an independent life. The best example is the “Me gusta mi escuela” project in Mexico: executives from Germany and Mexico volunteered with schools in the country’s disadvantaged regions. The schools lacked materials, kitchen equipment, and furniture. Some of the buildings also required renovation. While Mexican associates helped locally, their colleagues in Germany collected the required resources.
In Germany, too, a number of refugee aid projects received support from Primavera this past year. For instance, a bicycle workshop was opened in Weissach with donations. Together with volunteers from a local aid group, refugees repaired bicycles and made them fit for the roads again. Moreover, in Achern and Sassbach, 19 refugee children were given the opportunity to learn to swim. Primavera financed their bathing suits and basic swimming lessons.
The Primavera calendar was one of the initiative’s highlights in 2016: produced for the first time in 2010, it now has a print run of 5,000 and can be seen on Bosch desks around the world. For the last six calendars, a total of 120,500 euros has been collected. Primavera volunteers have used the money to help provide children in need a brighter future.
More information on the work of Primavera e.V. can be found here.