Social Responsibility at Rödl & Partner – Interview with Antje Rempe, Vice President of Partnerschaftsverein Charkiw - Nürnberg e.V.

Ms Rempe, what sets Partnerschaftsverein Charkiw – Nürnberg e.V. apart from other foundations?

We place reliance on face-to-face meetings, personal initiative and reliable, competent partners in Kharkiv. Our projects are aimed at strengthening civil society, helping seniors, sick people and children in need, and seek to promote intercultural education of young people. Particularly important to us is the fostering of a good international and cross-cultural understanding.
 

Rödl & Partner has been actively involved in social responsibility projects for years now. What is the involvement of Rödl & Partner when it comes to the Partnerschaftsverein?

Our foundation was extremely lucky to have had Dr. Bernd Rödl as its President since 1995. He has been a leading figure for the foundation for nearly 20 years now. In this process, he initiated the most important project – the cultural and education centre "Nuremberg House" in Kharkiv. Thanks to his efforts, the project has been one of the most recognised cultural and language resource centres up to this day and developed into one of the most important institutions promoting German-Ukrainian relations. Rödl & Partner has also regularly supported social responsibility projects such as the soup kitchen and the children support centre. In 2013, Rödl & Partner decided not to send Christmas cards to its clients and donate the saved 10,000 Euro to the Partnerschaftsverein. To our great joy, Rödl & Partner decided to repeat this initiative.
 

Both in 2013 and in 2014, Rödl & Partner each time donated 10,000 Euro. What projects were made possible thanks to these donations?

Thanks to the donation of 2013, we implemented the youth project "War violence and human rights" in Nuremberg. From 12 to 20 July 2014, ten teenagers from Kharkiv lived with families of their Nuremberg friends they met a year earlier in Kharkiv. Together with 13 Sigmund Schuckert High School students, they explored the historical traces of the World War II and national socialism in Nuremberg. They visited the Documentation Centre, the Way of Human Rights and the Memorium. They talked to the Human Rights Office of the City of Nuremberg and interviewed pedestrians about the World War II. The trip to the memorial site Buchenwald, former concentration camp, made a particularly strong impression on them. For their intensive work and exploration of the topic of human rights and the culture of remembrance, the school students received the Hermann Kesten Award from the Middle Franconian association of writers. During the award ceremony held in the Nuremberg Public Library, the young project team presented the results of their work: a blog, a video and a slide show.   The recorded interviews will be summarised in a brochure for further use by Nuremberg and Kharkiv schools. All experiences were described on the http://ssgcharkiw.wordpress.com/ 
 
The 2014 donation should make it possible to launch another school exchange project, which will take place in Nuremberg again because of the currently difficult situation in Ukraine. Because a youth forum of UNESCO schools on the topic of "Media and propaganda" will be held in 2015 in Nuremberg, a youth meeting organised in cooperation with the Sigmund Schuckert High School will be possible again as part of this event. But this time, we want the students to also experience the everyday school life and deal with the topic of human rights directly in the contemporary context.
 

The youth exchange project was organised under the motto “War violence and human rights”. What lesson did these young adults learn from the project, especially in these difficult times in Ukraine? 

These young adults learned how brutally war violates and abuses human rights, and that is exactly why one has to fight for human rights. They were in particular deeply affected by the horror of the Buchenwald concentration camp. But it also became clear to them that one has to become actively involved and advocate the cause. What they found very important during the project week was the friendship and joint work, discussions and fun. Thus, our guests could feel solidarity, which gave them new energy for the difficult everyday life in Kharkiv. 
 

How can you individually support the Foundation?

        • You can become a member and help in our activities or advance our causes. The membership fee is 30 Euro per year.
        • You can donate, either generally or for a specific project such as the Nuremberg House, the soup kitchen, the children support centre, refugee children aid, social care centre, or the paediatric tuberculosis outpatient clinic. Partnerschaftsverein Charkiw-Nürnberg, IBAN DE12760501010001350058
        • Depending on the needs, you can also contribute your knowledge and expertise.
           
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For their intensive exploration of the topic of the World War II as part of the youth exchange project supported by Rödl & Partner, the school students received the Hermann Kesten award.
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