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Building up Infrastructure and Supporting Change Makers

Building up Infrastructure and Supporting Change Makers

A long-term commitment of the AAF is the support of the Association of Counseling Centers for Victims of Right-wing, Racist and Anti-Semitic Violence in Germany – both financially and logistically. It aims to provide victims of right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence across Germany with access to counseling and support organizations that operate in a professional, independent, free-of-charge and partisan (pro-victim) manner. At present, VBRG comprises 14 independent counseling organizations in twelve of Germany’s federal states. Every year, member organizations advise and support hundreds of persons affected by right-wing violence. In doing so, they draw on many years of experience and considerable expertise and support those directly affected by attacks, threats, arson, and assault, as well as witnesses and relatives or significant others. This support is provided free of charge, confidentially, on location and in a partisan (pro-victim) manner. Counseling is provided anonymously on request. VBRG provides advanced training and qualification measures to counselors and interested institutions. In addition to this, the association calls for and supports the nationwide provision of counseling services for victims of right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence.

In the 1990s, right-wing extremist youth dominated public spaces in the city of Wurzen. Local politicians responded to right-wing violence with silence. In 1999, it was a handful of dedicated people that founded the Democratic Culture Network. A little later, the financial support of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation began. A large-scale fundraiser on the cover of Germany’s largest weekly newspaper ZEIT, who was acquired as a partner for this campaign, brought together € 51,000 for the purchase of a Culture and Citizens' Center, which until today serves as a venue for a variety of projects and events: a meeting café, political discussion series or individual advice for asylum seekers. The work of the network has initiated quite a difference in Wurzen: from concerts to exhibitions on anti-Semitism to educational trips for young people, the association has brought a lot to life. Offers that did not exist before. The commitment of the NDK exemplifies that it pays off to work for the development of local infrastructure and invest in local changemakers: the people engaged were able to initiate and support a noticeable positive development in the overall climate of the city – and into the region.

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