Bearing fruit, in the form of social and vocational integration

To make the daily lives of very poor people better, an organization in Weida is improving its market garden. On the menu are tea, herbal teas and jams.

"A relationship of genuine, heart-felt cooperation developed between the organization, the mayor and myself"

Frank Fritsch

Weida, a town in Thuringia with 9,000 inhabitants, has a fairly high unemployment rate: 15% of its people of working age do not have a job. In 1994, a project was born among the unemployed: used clothing and kitchen utensils were collected and distributed to people with little or nothing. Over the years, more and more people were relying on this community service: retired people with tiny pensions, young people with no occupational training, mothers under the age of 18, immigrant families and single men.
In 2005, responding to the rising demand, the municipality contributed a building in the town to facilitate distribution. Soon, up to 200 people a week were converging on the building and its garden in search of goods, but also of advice, a cup of coffee and a little company. Some even rolled up their sleeves: the garden was planted with herbs and fruits, and herbal teas, jams and medicinal ointments were produced on a small scale.

Neighborhood breakfasts
Given the success of that initiative, a non-profit organization was established under German law. This means that the team running the site can obtain professional recognition of their work and embark on new initiatives. One of the projects they have in mind involves improving and operating the garden; this will create work for needy people and make it possible to produce regional specialties for sale at markets or neighborhood breakfasts.