21st April 2016 was the big day: Grossmann & Berger handed its Christmas charity collection
amounting to €10,000 to a Hamburg association called Selbst & Sicher
. The charity looks after traumatized children and young people who have sought refuge in Germany, some of them unaccompanied by family members. With the help of interpreters, trauma clinics are held in the refugee reception centres (“Protect” project) and, when the young patients have moved to more permanent homes, short therapy courses (“Protect Plus”) are offered. Grossmann & Berger’s search for a specific project to support was aided by Radio Hamburg and their "Hörer helfen Kindern
“ (listeners help children) campaign.
Managing director Lars Seidel and the project coordinator Julia Wittmoser went to see the charity at work to form their own impression. The association’s trauma therapists treat refugee children between the ages of five and 18 in rooms lovingly equipped with games, drawing and painting materials, and cuddly toys.
“They need to build trust in order to confront the trauma suffered. Obviously, that is especially difficult for refugee children because of the language barrier,” Lars Seidel believes. “And that is why we find the work done by Selbst & Sicher so good. They give the refugee children greater stability and create a foundation for integration.”
Jelle Stollenwerk, the charity’s manager and Khyana Althoff, the head of the trauma therapy project, showed the representatives from Grossmann & Berger the kind of things they face every day. Some of the refugee children, for example, are afraid of the showers, because the water reminds them of being at sea on a rubber dinghy.
In addition to the actual therapy work, the service provided by the association involves a great deal of organization and coordination. The cost of therapy is much higher than normal because an interpreter is present at every session. Selbst & Sicher funds its short-term therapies “Protect Plus” solely through donations.