A Time for Superheroes
When it comes to educational equality and social participation, reading skills and the ability to express oneself linguistically play a central role. Not only can books open up new worlds, but they can also stimulate creativity and support personal development. That is why the non-profit association Berliner Büchertisch aims to facilitate access to reading for as many people as possible, regardless of their financial means, such as by providing a marketplace for used books, donating books to educational institutions and furnishing public book exchanges. Free book subscriptions and reading projects for disadvantaged children are also part of the initiative’s commitment.
A current project sponsored by SAGST is called “Zeit für SuperheldInnen”. It addresses topics and wishes that occupy children and young people from Neukölln. The two groups (one for 8- to 11-year-olds and one for 12- to 14-year-olds) meet once a week in the association’s premises on Richardstrasse. There, they meet everyday heroes such as employees of the city cleaning service, the police, as well as political representatives and people from a wide variety of other sectors. Together, they develop ideas on how they themselves can become active in their neighbourhood. The participants discuss their experiences, read and take pictures as ways of discovering their self-efficacy in a playful way. “The meetings offer an exciting framework for asking role models questions, discussing media experiences or even drafting future prospects”, explains Elke Rahmann, who is accompanying the project on behalf of SAGST. “The children’s and young people’s reading, speaking and writing skills are reinforced while they simultaneously develop important soft skills such as empathy, the ability to work in a team and a sense of responsibility.”