By: Gizem Arat, BSW
Attending to the internship program in Nuremberg (Germany) by traveling there from my hometown (in Turkey), I analyzed the different target and client systems during this program that lasted from March to August of 2007. I worked in a cultural center (Buergerzentrum Villa Leon) whose aim is to gather information about various cultures and people. I should give some significant information about this center to make it understandable.
The Villa Leon is located in a place that was formerly the Nuremberg slaughterhouse (http://www.kubiss.de/kultur/info/kuf/villa/eingang.asp). Yet, now it is a significant cultural center for migrants and also for the city. The cultural center of Villa Leon was opened in December 2001 as a part of the town center with integrated library (Stadtbibliothek). Besides its uniqueness, the cultural store is also a platform for national and sub-national cultural events. This young cultural equipment is the successor of the oldest Nuremberg cultural store (“KuRo”), which was placed there for more than 25 years in the Rothenburgerstraße.
The basic tasks and aims of Villa Leon are:
Cultural arrangements and information in the intercultural area.
Music row Klezmer in the Villa, which reflects Renaissance and modern development of old Klezmer music.
Music row Worldmusic of Café, with music from all continents, with background information and activities for the support and arrangement of the Nuremberg town partnerships.
Political education and arrangements of information on topical subjects (human rights, integration policy, and social policy)
Intercultural dialogue and cooperation with many Nuremberg institutions, specifically child culture events (children’s place, detective club, children’s theater)
It reflects and provides human services and facilities all around the towns of Saint Leonhard and Schweinau.
Groups, courses, and consultation meetings (integration courses, alphabetization courses, among other things)
Finally, the Villa Leon is the common point of associations and initiative groups, which work independently and targets to be integrated.
Cayhaus is the part of the Villa Leon to build a bridge between Germany and other nations with Turkish catering trade and is the main philosophy of the Cayhaus (http://www.kubiss.de/kultur/info/kuf/villa/html/teehaus.html)
Stadtteilbibliothek means the city library, which is located in the Villa Leon building so everyone can benefit from it. In my opinion, it supports the main task of Villa Leon, because in the culture center to spread away the different culture to everyone, the books and other things take an important place.
In Villa Leon, my client system was related with migrants and their adaptation problems in their environment. My supervisor and I worked together to help them by organizing concerts, meetings, and group sessions to solve their problems by themselves.
At the beginning, it was very hard for me to understand the structure and mission of cultural centers, because in Turkey there are not any places like Villa Leon. So I tried to examine the aim and structure of these places. It was very different for me to examine and apply the social workers’ tasks and roles, because in Turkey, most of the social workers only understand the issue that social workers can do individual or group social work. I learned from here that social workers have very different roles. For example, they organize social activities to meet the clients’ interests and needs, and with this they can integrate with their environment and society in the best way. Also, social workers help the clients who do not know how to read and write. So, the social workers’ basic role is acting as a facilitator and helping to show the clients how to establish the bridge between their culture and the German culture by first learning the language.
My target system was clustered with children, older people except disabled and handicapped, and also teenagers. Yet, I wanted to have other client systems in my project. As a result, I started to plan my project. First, I talked with my supervisor and got some feedback from him. Next, I formed a list about the pros and cons of it. Then, my supervisor and I explained my project in detail to the chief of the cultural center in Nuremberg. Together, we discussed how to find the formal and informal resources for my project.
I wanted to make a different project in Villa Leon, because they did not have handicapped people in their sub-target group. As the communities all over the world have some prejudices toward physically disabled people, I wanted to help bring them into social life.
When I went to Gremsdorf with the Turkish Folklore Group, I saw and observed Barmherzige Brueder Gremsdorf. I saw people who were mentally and physically handicapped or disabled.
I decided to integrate them with the children of St. Leonhard School. I informed my supervisor about this idea, but when we met, I realized I could not fulfill it, because my time was too limited. According to my supervisor’s advice, I decided to change my project to only include physically disabled people in this project, but there was a big problem with the transportation.
First I searched for informal resource systems. For example, my friend worked in community services, and he said that he worked in “meals on wheels” 400 km outside of Nuremberg. As a result, I could not use my informal resource system. Then one of my supervisors in my project informed me about the transportation in Nuremberg, but she was so busy that she could not talk to them. I decided to send another communication to the social worker in Barmherzige Brueder Gremsdorf, and she told that they had the transportation. As a result, I decided to see her and talk about my project face-to-face, because before that, I sent my project via e-mail. To me, it is very important to talk face-to-face and observe the project participants again before beginning a project.
I guess I have to tell a bit about Barmherzige Brueder Gremsdorf to make it easier to understand. It is a rehabilitation center where disabled and handicapped people live together. The age of clients is between 18 and 65. Most of them stayed in the rehabilitation center, but some of them just came to work in “Werk-statt” to earn money. It means that the disabled and handicapped people work in the places where some responsibilities are given to them to fulfill their jobs like putting the things in boxes. These tasks are given them according to their disabilities. To me, it is really important to make them feel as if they are citizens of the society.
I went to Gremsdorf and explained my problem to her, and she said that the transportation is not a problem for them, because they have two buses to carry them. So I have changed the main idea of my project. I decided to fulfill it by giving a breakfast to mentally ill people with older people who are the clients of Villa Leon.
I singlehandedly designed and managed this project. The goal was to make a difference and introduce the mentally disabled people to Villa Leon as a marginal target group. After confirming with my supervisor, I went to Gremsdorf to consult with the social worker and identify the number and age range of people.
I communicated the goals of the project to the elderly client group of Villa Leon, and they agreed to fully support the project by getting involved. However, on the first day of the project, the unfortunate loss of a Villa Leon elderly resident made us unable to match the numbers of the elderly residents to the mentally ill people. Therefore, the target group of seven mentally ill people carried on their activities without interacting with all of the elderly. On the other hand, only one of the elderly clients joined in the activity with the mentally ill clients. They made a great breakfast by communicating with each other and playing some music. I learned from this that you have to get prepared for unexpected events, such as a death. For instance, a few older people joined in my project, so I used music to gather people together.
In the end of the project, I realized that one of the key elements that made this client system closer was the music. By the help of the music, they came together and started to chat and smile at each other. So, I recommend that all social workers and social work candidates use this method.
According to my experience, I recognized that the two different client systems could fit perfectly when you find a common interest, such as music. I advise social workers to improve themselves by working with different client systems in foreign countries, because they have incredible experiences professionally to develop themselves.
Gizem Arat received her BSW in 2007 from Baskent University in Turkey. She is an MSW student at the University of Pittsburgh. In the future, she wants to get her PhD and become an academician, so she can share her experiences and knowledge with students all over the world.