April 30, 2014

In the two villages, Sassen and Richthof, Germany there are at present 250 mentally disabled adults, men and women, who live in 26 large families.  The families consist of 8-12 disabled members, the parents of the home, mostly with their own children as well, and also people who are with the community on practical courses or who work here instead of doing their military service.

The usual domestic duties, including cooking, are carried out by the mother in charge and her helpers. Those who don’t work in the home spend their time working in our various handicraft workshops. An essential task of the community is the provision of a healthy cultural life. Exercising social skills and finding suitable forms of recreation are considered-important aspects. Choir, orchestra, folk-dancing, eurhythmy, painting, theatre, concerts and lectures all form part of the recreation program.

The community derives its inspiration and support from the teachings of Anthroposophy and the gospels.The annual Christian festivals and the weekly Saturday evening bible evenings as well as the Sunday service, play a most important part in the community life.

How I participated:

My first action every day was to go grocery shopping. First, I went to the market garden to get fresh vegetables and then to the small store within the village to get any other ingredients required for the preparation of the lunch. After this I helped in the kitchen with the preparation of the meal for the 20 people that belong to the house. There is a small group having dinner before the main group starts eating  and I helped the people that needed assistance with feeding at both events. After lunch I helped doing the dishes and to clean the kitchen.

 Further, I went for a walk with wheelchair users and we did some of the errands that are required on a daily basis, e.g. collecting the daily post or returning the milk churn for the daily milk delivery.In the afternoons, I went to one of the handicraft workshops. I learned how to make pottery and also worked with one of the disabled employees to finalize some of products they are producing.It was a great time for me and I really enjoyed it. I am truly grateful for this experience.

– Katrin Schwab

Manager of Client Services