Ukrainian Theater “Children of the Future”

A report from our member Thomas Messerer

Sometimes everything just fits together like there’s some invisible force (Fate? God? Gaia? The flying spaghetti monster?) that somehow makes it all tie together. That’s how I felt as the following story unfolded that I have to tell you about.

First act, Oleg’s appearance: Oleg, whom I met at the campaign PCs for accommodation in Nuremberg contacted me on February 7th. A theater company from Ukraine planned to tour Europe and perform a free experience/arts/theatre/ and show program for children evacuated from Ukraine. The problem – no, the problems were:

  • The force, which also includes some men over 18 years old, would not get exit permits from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense without several invitations from organizations in different countries.
  • There is no place in Germany to perform yet.
  • As a result, no overnight accommodation has yet been organised.
  • Unspoken, but logical: there wasn’t really any money either.

I then said – relatively relaxed -: “I’ll look for a room, I’ll find something”.

But it turned out at that time that I wanted to test a club restaurant for the first time that day, namely at the DJK Falke e.V. in Nuremberg Gleishammer. And what do I see when I stand in front of the door? The club has a room, relatively large, with a stage, sound, light, seating and so on.

Second act: So I ask the innkeeper very briskly: “Can we use the hall for an event?” The landlord: “The hall is not managed by me and is not for rent” – I replied: “Well, renting is not the idea, rather free for a good cause”. The landlord takes a quick look, then turns and points to … yes, the 2nd chairman of the association, who happened to be there and said: “Ask Mr. Jung”.

And from there it was easy, Mr. Jung listened to everything, immediately consulted and agreed to the room free of charge. Ideally on a weekend, then the hall would be free, if necessary also during the week – then you would just cancel the sports groups on that day. So I to Oleg “We have a free hall”. And to Lars from the board at Auxilium: “We need an invitation”. He “Make a design, I’ll manage it” That same day, our association issued an official invitation to the theater troupe and this then led – in addition to several other invitations from other countries, including the Czech Republic and Poland – to the above-mentioned approval being granted – within two days. bang 🙂

Act Three: Accommodation: The troupe consists of 33 people (15 of whom are under the age of 18) and two bus drivers. I phoned several large hostels in Nuremberg, but none were willing to take the troupe – either at a reduced price and certainly not for free. At the beginning of the invasion last year, quite a few of them were still making good money from the mothers with children who were housed with you by the city of Nuremberg. Well, that’s just the way it is – if the money doesn’t flow, the help is quickly over…

Fourth act: After thinking about it for a while, it occurs to me that we still have youth hostels and school camps in and around Nuremberg – so I start researching, making phone calls, emailing etc.

Nuremberg youth hostel, on the left the “Luginsland” tower, on the right the pentagonal tower, which no longer belongs to the youth hostel

The bright spot came on February 15th. by the DJH youth hostel in Nuremberg or the regional association in Munich.

  • Scene 1: In Nuremberg, I found out from the manager, Ms. Natterer, that there would be space for two or three nights in February (two gaps between group bookings, so rather empty). The decision as to whether this can be realized as a donation lies in the hands of the regional association in Munich.
  • Scene 2: I call and am referred to Ms. Wild (assistant to the board & projects). I email her asking her to include the group at a reduced price or for free.
  • Scene 3: Within one! On the 1st day I get the feedback – from Nuremberg – that the state association has agreed – the troops will be accommodated free of charge (26.-28.2.).

Free, 35 people, full board. Sound incredible? But it was like that!

Fifth act: The performance on Sunday, February 26th. – apart from a short tour of the hall on 24.2. I didn’t have much to do. Well, I still accompanied the check-in at the youth hostel because it was better that way. The show (I was only there for an hour in the evening) was great, of course I didn’t understand a word. The hall was full and the children definitely enjoyed it.

Sixth and final act: Monday was a day off for the troupe and I thought it would be nice to offer a city tour or evening program. Such a day off without a lot of private money, young people (15 people under 18 years old, the rest almost all under 35) can quickly become boring.

Scene 1: For the afternoon we hired a city guide through the Congress and Tourism Center Nuremberg – at the expense of the association. They asked for someone who spoke at least Russian – and in fact they even managed to find a Ukrainian.

From then on, the coincidences got a bit scary *wink*.

Scene 2: The evening program was then relatively easy to organize: I am a member of Ali Baba e.V., the largest games club in Germany. It has his weekly games meeting every Monday evening in the Pellerhaus (300 meters from the youth hostel). I call Christian Wallisch (Chairman), briefly explain the situation – and the invitation is there!

In the evening I picked up around 25 people from the group, including all the young people and children, at the youth hostel and took them there. When we got there, four tables were reserved, several members had volunteered to explain the games (there were some in the squad who spoke really good English) and Oleg was there to translate for those who didn’t speak so well or at all couldn’t speak English. It was a successful evening and a perfect ending for me too.

If you want to support our work, we would be happy to receive donations for our projects – and of course you can become a member.

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