The cultures in this world have more in common than what separates them. If we can create more awareness for this fact, then we can also create the causes for preventing future situations where people have to flee. Many ancient writings, Asia’s philosophical, religious and cultural heritage of 2,500 years, an enormously precious treasure for all of humankind, were destroyed or carried away. For 25 years now, the Asian Classics Input Project (ACIP) has been tracking these old manuscripts all over the world. Tibetan fugitives are recording them on computers to preserve them for coming generations. The first 5,000 manuscripts are already available online and free of charge, another 300,000 are waiting to be recorded. Most of these manuscripts have suffered severely from improper storage and urgently require book covers to preserve them from disintegration.
This is exactly the scope of a wonderful project, helping fugitive women in Germany. Their integration into society and the job market has not yet made it on the German authorities’ priority list. In this project they learn to sew while at the same time improving their German language skills.
What motivates the fugitive women in this project is that they can “give something back” and contribute to the preservation of valuable cultural heritage, by sewing book covers. Often they themselves had to witness the destruction of cultural heritage, and they are sensitized and compassionate for protecting these books. Being able to work for a higher good helps them overcome victimization and take new control over their own lives.
The ACIP Book Cover project started 2015 in India and Pakistan. In 2016 it came to Romania, producing 1,000 book covers per year. Now, in 2017, it has reached Germany: With the help of young students in Germany’s schools we want to produce more book covers yet.
Many schools offer sewing lessons, and what better place could there be for learning German than at school? This project builds bridges, fosters compassion and an understanding of other cultures, and establishes a strong feeling of connection in the region.
Teachers teach the fugitive women how to sew. The women acquire basic skills, e.g. how to sew skirts, blouses, pants and jackets. A certificate verifys their new skills.
The students take care of all organizational tasks, they show the women how to reach their school by public transport. This trains their cultural competence, team skills, and responsibility.
“Das macht Schule” supports the project strategically and helps teachers and students get started. We presented our concept to five teachers and asked them for their assessment. Currently we are creating the project documentation in coordination with teachers. Then we will start a pilot phase. Dr. Ibrahim Nour will support us with her valuable experience from a Romanian reference project.
Plant “double strength” seeds: The Schöplin foundation will double all donations.