The “Stadtteilmütter“ (District Mothers) project is targeted at areas under Neighbourhood Management with a high proportion of children and young people from the most disadvantaged demographic groups. Parents – particularly those from an immigrant background – may have serious difficulties in their roles as child-raisers and educators, whilst adapting to an unfamiliar system. Trust in state agencies is extremely difficult to foster, especially in the case of families who have emigrated from countries which lack constitutional structures comparable to those found in Germany.
Berlin deploys the instrument of “Quartiersmanagement” (Neighbourhood Management) to address the manifold problems inherent in areas in need of development. Children and young people from the most disadvantaged demographic groups are represented in all 33 areas covered by Neighbourhood Management. What is needed is the introduction of steps and measures that give equal opportunities to all children.
Borough support of the pilot project enables synergy effects in project organisation, networking, public outreach and the actual work itself. Women and mothers of immigrant background are given a short training course enabling them to speak directly to families from their own community about various topics (immigration, language, work, health, law, childcare and targeted development of children and young people). Outreach is thus achieved to demographic groups removed from education and welfare services, and immigrant families become open to their neighbourhoods. The women themselves acquire skills that enable them to deal better with their roles as child-raisers and educators. Furthermore, their employment allowance gives them a unique opportunity to assert themselves on the labour market. For many families the mother’s employment represents their very first contact with the labour market – the mother’s training as a Stadtteilmutter opens new employment perspectives for the children and relations.