Germany – Angela Merkel’s great appreciation for Don-Bosco-Zentrum

24 March 2016
Photos: German Government / Jesco Denzel

 (ANS - Berlin) – “I have the greatest respect” for all those involved in Don-Bosco-Zentrum. This is what the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said during her visit to the Salesian Centre on Tuesday 22 March.  "This is something that we cannot regulate by law,” she said in front of more than 80 journalists. “We can make available a basic subsidy, but taking into account every situation of life is a service that politics alone is incapable of. It needs people with a big heart.”

The Chancellor was visiting the work of "Manege gGmbH" in Don-Bosco-Zentrum. It has been active since 2005 in the fields of social work, vocational training and assistance to those in need, and is carried out jointly by the Salesians and the Sisters of St. Mary Magdalen Postel. Currently it caters for about 300 young people aged between 16 and 25 who are at risk of social exclusion. They come from very complicated life situations and find support and opportunities in "Manege".

Many of them had been waiting, all excited, for the arrival of the Chancellor. Jennifer, is aged 23. She has a 5-year-old son and is 5 months pregnant. She receives help in "Manege" and participates in a fixed daily schedule. The Chancellor listened to her story and those of two other young people. "I loved how attentively she listened to us," Jennifer said later.

Subsequently, the Chancellor visited various areas: workshops for painters, metallurgy and woodworking, and the kitchen department. The centre also helps to find internship places in companies and provides complementary lessons and support especially in Mathematics and German. As a result, many young people succeed in getting a diploma and finding a training place.

After a visit that lasted longer than expected, the Chancellor spoke to reporters. She said she was "very happy" to have got to know the kind of assistance being offered at the "Manege", because it is not easy for the state to help young adults between 18 and 25 years in difficult life situations. They are too old for "classical social assistance".

"I find it wonderful to see how much energy the assistants have in teaching these young people everything that has practical value and is necessary from a theoretical point of view," the German Chancellor concluded, renewing her expression of esteem for the approximately 50 people working at "Manege".


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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