Barrier-free youth art school “Kunstbahnhof” – equipment

The Wipperfürth youth art school, “Kunstbahnhof”, run by the community foundation “Wir Wipperfürther” moved to new premises at Lüdenscheider Straße 21 in autumn 2021. The Hans Hermann Voss Foundation provided funding for the new equipment for the Kunstbahnhof. The premises and equipment were redesigned to be as accessible as possible for everbody. To expand the services available, in addition to the studio, dance and theater rooms, a workshop area was set up where students can also work with wood or metal, for example.

Clarification, prevention and support at schools dealing with social media

The aim is to sensitize pupils to the social media. The focus is on education about opportunities and dangers (data misuse or cyber mobbing) as well as on prevention and support measures. The approach is to train youngsters in classes 7-9 to become media assistants, while at the same time providing a training program for teachers. Under the leadership of the Education Agency of the district Oberberg, together with the Gummersbach County Police Department and the district Youth Welfare Office as well as other organizations as co-operation partners, a structured, district-wide training offer was created, particularly focusing on the rural structures of the region. The organization is to secure the project by setting up a network and long-term collaboration with cooperation partners so that students are not only media assistants at their own school, but also act as multipliers for primary schools and trained media assistants.

Support program for adolescents with school-related and social problems

The goal of the project “Climb aboard – and advance!” is to help young students with school-related and social problems to finish school and find an apprenticeship position. The project of the “Kölner Gymnasial- und Stiftungsfonds” (Cologne high school and endowment fund) has already been offered at various schools in Cologne since 2007 and thanks to funding by the Hans Hermann Voss Foundation, there has been a branch of the project in Wipperfürth since 2014.

Up to 30 students in the 7th grade and up can participate in the project. A social worker supports the youth and offers them a secure place to go for problems in school, at home, and in the social sphere. This counseling and support are still available to the students up to a year after they graduate.

Technology and natural science in schools

The project “TuWaS! Technik und Naturwissenschaft an Schulen” (Do something! Technology and natural science in schools) in rhineland is offered by the chambers of industry and commerce (IHK) Cologne, Bonn/Rhine-Sieg and Middle Lower Rhine. The Hans Hermann Voss Foundation allows elementary schools in the Oberbergischer Kreis district free participation in this offer.

The aim is to introduce children to questions of natural science and technology as early as possible and in a fun way. Lessons are offered on the topics of weather, solids and liquids, the life cycle of a butterfly, electrical circuits, chemical tests, motion, and structure. Tried and tested material for 16 progressive lectures will be provided to the schools. In addition, day-long training sessions for teachers are offered that will give teachers a theoretical and didactic foundation.

The experiment units are designed according to the curriculum for regular lessons. They include handbooks and materials with which the children can conduct experiments in groups of two or three over a time period of four to eight weeks. Delivery, pick-up, and maintenance of the experiment units are included in the concept. The day-long training sessions on guided research-based learning are offered biannually on every experiment unit for elementary school teachers.

Scientific, mathematical and technical education for children

As part of the nationwide STEM education initiative “Stiftung Kinder forschen” (Little Scientists Foundation), educators in daycare centers and elementary school are trained at :metabolon to help children discover, research and learn in a targeted manner. In Oberberg, a regional network has been created in close cooperation between the Oberberg district and the Bergischer Abfallwirtschaftsverband, which offers all daycare centers throughout the district the opportunity to be certified as a Little Scientists’ House.

More information about Little Scientist’s House

Support service for young people without graduation

START is a project under sponsorship of the Ökumenische Initiative Wipperfürth (Wipperfürth civic trust). With the project young people who dropped out of high school are given the opportunity to re-structure their lives, go back to graduate from school, and if possible, find a training position. Young single parents face an especially great number of challenges to find an apprenticeship without having finished school, and to do so with a child. It is precisely this target group that is to receive special support. Young families and single parents are offered the building blocks to achieve family skills and educational opportunities. The goal is to increase the level of education of young mothers and fathers and therewith also the educational opportunities of the children. A missing secondary school leaving certificate can be made up for and a career start can be found through an apprenticeship.

Scholarships for young people with migration experience

The scholarship program of the START-Foundation is aimed at pupils with the following background: They want to actively participate in shaping our society and strengthening our democracy, they have immigrated to Germany themselves or their father or mother has immigrated to Germany, they are attending at least grade nine in the current school year, they are at least 14 years old, they have a command of German at least at the level of GER-B1 and they are still attending a general or vocational school in a German federal state for at least three years. The Hans Hermann Voss Foundation sponsors five START scholarships for students in the region Bergisches Land.

The scholarship supports the capability and the commitment of young people with a migration history and attends their education. In addition to providing material support, the grant includes a comprehensive range of educational opportunities and personal pedagogical supervision.

More information about the scholarship program and application

Funding of pupils on their way into working life

The Study Compass supports young people from families without academic experience in discovering their potential and finding an individually suitable educational path after graduation. The Hans Hermann Voss Foundation supports the Oberbergischer Kreis program location. Participants receive intensive support and guidance for three years as they make the transition from school to university or to vocational training. In the course of the program, young people learn to shape their educational path independently and make future-oriented career decisions. The support begins in the penultimate school year and accompanies the scholarship holders until the end of the first year of study or training. In addition to training courses and workshops to get to know one’s own strengths, the scholarship includes the teaching of skills that will be required for the working world of the future and key topics such as digital skills, entrepreneurship, cultural education or STEM. 

More information about scholarship and application

Chennai Nook for self-determined learning in India

Project DEFY (Design Education for Yourself) is underway in India, along with other places, and works to create spaces in which people can pursue their own further education. The “Initiative Neue Bildung e.V.” association from Germany works with Project DEFY. The core idea of the project is the construction of so-called “nooks”, which act both as alternative schools as well as cost-efficient centers for independent learning that local (village) communities help create and organize themselves. The aim of the nooks is to ensure that, in areas where children and young people cannot make it to the classroom, the educational environment comes to them. At the same time, nooks are intended to be safe spaces in which people and social groups affected by poverty, social exclusion or an unstable environment can find a place of learning. Supported by a mentor, learners can create their own learning projects in the nooks. The equipment includes laptops, internet, technology, electronics and tools, as well as various, often recycled materials and resources. The Nooks are open to lifelong learning for people of all ages. With a start-up funding, the Hans Hermann Voss Foundation has been supporting the construction of a new nook in the village of Katchipedu near Chennai, southern India. 

Discovery organ

The protestant church in the market square in Wipperfürth is getting a new organ with a new design. As a certified “Little Scientists’ House” the parish’s five-group kindergarten is familiar with working with natural scientific learning material. This led to the idea of not only making music with the organ, but also building the organ as an object for learning and experiments: In the future, the organ won’t just be used for musical accompaniment at church events but will also be used to bring technology and physical concepts in acoustics to life for children and young people. Therefore, the possibilities of how to show children and young people how an organ works, how sounds are made, as well as other concepts were discussed with local church organ experts and various organ builders. With financial support from the Hans Hermann Voss Foundation, the organ will be accessible and designed with appropriate glass fittings.