German award for civic engagement

The Deutscher Engagementpreis honours people who do voluntary work in education, culture and society. Here are the winners in 2016.


Over 300 young refugees have already managed to gain school-leaving qualifications in the SchlaU-Schule in Bavaria. The initiative by an association called Trägerkreis Junge Flüchtlinge supports 16- to 25-year-old students individually and in small classes. The curricula are based on those in normal schools, but many elements are treated more flexibly. Additional language teaching is also provided for the young people.

Jugend hackt

A digitally controlled watering system for trees in the city and an app that shows how much public space is now under video surveillance are just two of this group’s projects. Jugend hackt brings young technology experts together and encourages them to use their knowledge for the benefit of society. The group’s motto: “Making the world better with code”.

Dörpschaft Witzin

Germany is experiencing a demographic transformation – there are more and more seniors and fewer and fewer young people. This is especially strongly felt in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The Dörpschaft Witzin association has lots of ideas about how its village can again become attractive for families and how the generations can share their daily lives. Among other things, a home for senior citizens is planned immediately next to the new kindergarten.


Many of the students of Gesamtschule Bremen-Ost, a secondary school in Bremen, come from disadvantaged families. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen enables them to gain a new experience – and greater recognition. The “future laboratory” organises cultural education projects and once a year the Stadtteil-Oper, a neighbourhood opera with professionals and young people playing the instruments.

Verein Dunkelziffer

Every year, Verein Dunkelziffer teaches up to 12,000 children and young people how they can protect themselves against sexual violence. The association is increasingly also focusing on how to deal with social media. Furthermore, the volunteers advise people who have already been victims of abuse.

Marisa Schroth of the Govinda association

Govinda opens up educational opportunities for young people in Nepal, among other things, with a training centre for would-be electricians. The association also provided swift assistance following the 2015 earthquake. 

Presentation of the Deutscher Engagementpreis in Berlin on 5 December 2016