The bright tones of the strings of a lute pearl through the rotunda of the Tagesspiegel publishing house. Sophia plays a Ukrainian song about a bird, a quail.

Sophia is nine years old, she fled the war zone in Ukraine with her mother, they survived in the bunker. The two have not seen their husband, their father, for a long time.

He’s a soldier, he’s fighting for his country’s independence.

Sophia musically accompanies a special symbol of enormous helpfulness. The donation association of the Tagesspiegel met on Tuesday with the participants of the aid organizations to whom the money of the Tagesspiegel readers is transferred, which they have donated for the “Ukraine aid”. The Tagesspiegel organized this support in close cooperation with its proven partner, the “Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft”.

Annette Kögel, a member of the Tagesspiegel fundraising association, will moderate the celebration. The editor founded the Tagesspiegel’s fundraising campaign “People help!” 30 years ago.

This actually always takes place at Christmas, but in the event of catastrophes in the world, the Tagesspiegel also assumes social responsibility.

At the celebration, Tagesspiegel editor-in-chief Lorenz Maroldt said in his speech, impressed: “We’ve often had the situation that, given the amount donated, we said: We’ve never had anything like it.”

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This time there is another record, but it stands out from other records.

Thanks to donations from the readers of the Tagesspiegel, 578,000 euros can now be donated. There has never been so much by far; during the 2004/5 tsunami it was 565,000 euros.

“That’s really enormous when you think that this amount came together in such a short time,” says Maroldt.

And: “We are glad that we have this alliance partner, because it quickly became clear that we, as a charitable organization, could not handle this support alone.”

The goals were: Support for people in Ukraine, in one of their neighboring countries that takes in many refugees, as well as projects in Berlin and Brandenburg that take care of people who have fled.

The Tagesspiegel itself has its own projects thanks to the commitment of the publisher.

Some refugee journalists are already working in the publishing house. “We made space and technology available to them,” says Maroldt, “and they receive monthly support.”

“The help will continue as long as it is necessary. But we wish everyone that they will soon be able to work in their home country again.” Sophia’s mother also works as a journalist in the Tagesspiegel building.

From a spatial point of view, the former Tagesspiegel shop is now part of the Ukraine aid. Temporary childcare is set up there, with the experienced Impuls Soziales Management Die Familienexperten gGmbH as the sponsor.

This project also receives money from the fundraiser.

Peter Mucke, the managing director and spokesman for “Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft”, praised “the very special cooperation with the Tagesspiegel” in his speech.

The alliance and donation association quickly agreed that help for projects directly in the Ukraine could not be the only goal.

“We as an alliance have experienced a wave of helpfulness,” says Mucke. “On the second and third day of the war, a great many people came forward with the question: How can we help?. I have never experienced such broad support.” However, he has never experienced a catastrophe like the Ukraine war. “We see a war waged with all brutality.”

Katja Kipping (left), Senator for Integration, Social Affairs and Labour, is also impressed by the commitment.

She was unable to attend the celebration in person, but said: “Almost 600,000 euros, that’s a great and impressive sum.”

I also think the fundraising campaign is very good because a medium like the Tagesspiegel not only provides reliable news and analyzes about the war against Ukraine, but also uses its reach and popularity to specifically target people who have fled from Ukraine with donations to its readership support.”

She says: “This is exemplary. I would like to thank the Tagesspiegel and its readers for this social commitment and generosity.”

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This wave of helpfulness, also from co-supporters Admiralspalast, is now securing a lot of money for various projects. The Tagesspiegel donation association decided early on to strengthen local initiatives in addition to the alliance.

The donation bridge Ukraine maintains its central warehouse for donations in kind in Hangar 1 of Tempelhof Airport. Supply trips within Berlin are organized from here.

Hygiene items in particular are transported several times a day by van to the aid stations at the main train station, the Südkreuz or the central bus station (ZOB).

There is simply not enough space at these contact points to store the material that is being distributed. The refugees primarily receive items that they urgently need after days of driving, including baby food and hygiene items.

The donation bridge is an initiative of the social sponsor Tentaja Soziale non-profit GmbH in cooperation with the Berlin regional association of the German Life Saving Society (DLRG).

Tentaja is a foundation of the carrier Tamaja; active in Hangar 1 of Tempelhof Airport since 2015. Tentaja wants to use the money to buy things he needs, and the money is also needed to cover the cost of driving the five small trucks.

The DLRG is there as a cooperation partner because it is familiar with transport management.

Michael Elias, the managing director of Tamaja, said at the celebration of the donation association: “I experience a gigantic commitment. And the nice thing is that you are part of a bigger whole.”

Tentaja wants to expand his Ukraine aid. “As a next step, we want to support children’s and youth homes in Ukraine directly, with food and other things.”

Another project that receives support is the Elisabethstift, a child and youth welfare facility in Berlin and Brandenburg with its main center in Hermsdorf.

Refugees, a foster mother with nine children and foster parents with four children have also been living there since mid-March.

The foundation would like to offer the Ukrainians trauma pedagogical and therapeutic services and hire professional staff on a fee basis.

However, the facility also needs money for staff to support the Ukrainian children and young people with tutoring at school. The foundation would like to employ someone who speaks Ukrainian or Russian on a fee basis.

The Caritas Association can finance two social workers to look after the children.

Moabit hilft e.V. also receives money, Diana Henniges thanked. The protection centers of the “Concordia Social Projects Foundation” in Moldova, with which Kindernothilfe cooperates, are now receiving money through the alliance.

Many refugees have found shelter there. But war trauma often only breaks out in peace. “Our educators and psychologists experience that the children initially only play out war for three days,” Bernhard Drumel, board member of the foundation in Austria, based in Vienna, told the Tagesspiegel.

The donations are used to finance beds, hygiene items, food, medicine, toys, online schooling for the children and psychological support.

Poor people who take in refugees privately should get money for wood and food, for example.

The Uzhhorod Hospital in Ukraine near the border, which is supported by “German Doctors”, also receives donations, for example for medicines and equipment.

The donation association has also initiated a project at the alliance that takes care of traumatized young refugees through Terre des hommes with Xenion e.V. in Berlin, thanks to money for another child and youth therapist.

Traditionally, the donation association finances material costs. But the Ukraine war is an exception. “This time,” says Annette Kögel, “we have to enable experts to help those affected.”