The German bureaucracy poses challenges for many – but especially people with a migration background who may not speak the language (perfectly) and thus lose themselves in the administrative jungle.

In order to help them, the district mothers were set up in 2004: women who themselves have a history of migration and who support others in finding their way around Berlin. They give tips for upbringing and health and act as role models.

Now the 20th generation has completed their training: Last Friday, 74 district mothers, unmistakably by their red scarves, received certificates from district mayor Martin Hikel (SPD). Eight new district mothers received their training certificate and their own red scarf at the same time.

The project of the district mothers started 18 years ago with some Turkish-speaking women in the Schillerkiez. 14 languages ​​have now been added. According to the district office, the district mothers have so far visited more than 15,000 families and held talks with them about participation, integration and self-determination.

A few months ago, district mother Manal Iraki told me how the visits go, what challenges there are and what the great thing about the job is – you can read the text about her again here (subscription). According to the district office, a total of 486 women have been trained and hired as district mothers in Neukölln so far. For many of them, the job was their first job ever.

Hikel said: “The neighborhood mothers are role models: in their families, but also for other mothers and grandmothers. They show how a self-determined life is possible and at the same time support thousands of Neukölln families. What the district mothers have achieved in 18 years in their discussions and through their role model in Neukölln can hardly be put into words. Without their work, Neukölln would be a different place.”

Two years ago, the project was consolidated by the Senate administration. Since then, about half of the Neukölln district mothers have been working for the state program. The rest work within the framework of employment measures of the job center and the Senate Department for Employment.