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“The Social Awareness Day opened my eyes a little wider”

Hamburg is a gem: The Hanseatic city attracts millions of tourists year after year, and it offers high quality of life to those who live there. But this gem also has an ugly side to it: Many people enjoy none of the city’s fine qualities. Rather, they have to fight to survive. At least 2,000 homeless people live on the city’s streets, according to the Hamburg Senate, which runs the city-state. This is only the lower range of the real total. The number of uncounted homeless individuals is probably much higher. 

Together with our partner, the Hamburg street magazine “Hinz & Kunzt,” we at Beiersdorf have been organizing this special Day for 10 years. During this day, we sensitize our trainees to the situation of the homeless and urge them to look beyond their own personal horizons. “The trainees learn that not all of their fellow human beings are doing as well as they are,” Fabian Wrieden says in describing the purpose of the activity. Fabian is a member of the trainer team and helps organize the Social Awareness Day. “We want to raise their awareness levels, teach them respect and help them grow as individuals.”

“You won’t find these places in any travel guide”

At the end of January, Chris guided all of our 37 trainees from the second year on a Social Day tour of the city. The group included future informatics clerks, chemical technicians and mechatronics specialists. The young people were broken down into two separate groups and visited “places that you won’t find in any travel guide,” as “Hinz & Kunzt” noted. One stop was the “Drob Inn,” a supervised injection site for drug addicts. “Visiting the inn was a very impressive experience for me, because I had never heard of the place before,” said Max-Philipp Koplin, a business administration trainee. The groups also dropped by the “StützPunkt,” a center run by Caritas, a Roman Catholic charity, where homeless people can store their possessions in lockers. They can take showers there as well as receive medical and psychological care. 

Grateful for the intense insights

The guide Chris was once homeless himself. He talked with Max-Philipp and shared his personal experiences with him. “Chris was really open – and he made sure to add some wit and humor as well,” Max-Philipp said. “He urged us to ask the homeless what they really needed before stopping by with rolls and coffee. He also told us about his own personal downward spiral into homelessness and about his heavy drinking and his girlfriend who died of cancer. It moved me.” Chris is now off the streets. His employer, “Hinz & Kunzt,” has co-signed for his apartment. Max-Philipp said the day had a positive impact on him: “When I think about the feelings that the Tour stirred in me, I keep thinking about one thing over and over again: Anybody can become homeless. And it can happen really fast. I realize this now. I am really grateful that we trainees had this opportunity to learn something about the lives of the homeless. The Social Awareness Day opened my eyes a little wider.”

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About the editor: Martina Perez

Martina has been part of the Corporate Communications team for many years as a PR consultant and knows the media scene very well. And the journalists know Martina. She coordinates and answers media inquiries, supports filming projects, and she is our contact person for daily press reviews and continuous media monitoring. In addition, she is responsible for the conception and organization of selected press conferences, for example for the successful long-term cooperation project between NIVEA and DLRG.