Why did you start your project?
The Cafe Inkognito of STEP gGmbH was founded in 1994 as a low-threshold contact point for users of illegal drugs. In the early 1990s, drug policy turned as it was recognized that the spread of HIV through street prostitution increasingly penetrated the civil sphere. Accepting, low-threshold offers should reach the many intravenous drug users sooner than the traditional, high-threshold advice centers with their approach at the time. By exchanging syringes and safer use advice, the infection with HIV and Hepatitis C is reduced and thus life is prolonged and impoverishment is counteracted by free, regular meals, food distribution and hygiene offers such as showering and washing clothes, and donating clothes. Fast, timeless, unbureaucratic help in referring to a substitution doctor, a detoxification clinic, a lawyer, a phone call with the public prosecutor or the probation officer to avert imprisonment, search for a place to stay or an apartment and much more. picks up clients wherever they are. Everyone is accepted with their own individual problem and can find help and support in the Cafe Inkognito if they wish (there are only bans on the consumption and dealing of drugs, violence, racism, sexism). Long-term relationship work creates trust, which makes continuous help and support possible in all areas of life.
How would you explain a normal day in your life? (inside the project)
It is very difficult to describe a "normal" day at Cafe Inkognito because the drug scene is dynamic and the mood depends on many different factors.Do we have the beginning or the middle to the end of the month? Are there a lot of drugs or none at the moment? Is the police very active right now or not? Are there many clients with mental illnesses or rather some with a high potential for aggression? Are we going to have a drug emergency and have to call the ambulance or use the defibrillator? How many clients will come today with letters that need to be dealt with at the very last minute? Which offices and authorities will you call today to save the cow from the ice - job center, public prosecutor, health insurance company? Which application will you help to fill out today - Harz4, housing allowance, GEZ exemption or meanwhile also pension and care allowance? Does someone come today whose wound needs to be treated because they do not trust themselves to see a doctor or do not have health insurance? How many people need food today? Will the food and clothing donations be enough? How many clients will want to have breakfast or a warm meal with us today, have we cooked enough?There are simply no "normal" days - every day is completely different, you never know how the day will go. But that is exactly one of the reasons why I love my work so much.
What is the biggest achievement until now, inside your project?
Most of the people who ask me this cannot imagine being successful in drug work and think that it must be utterly frustrating work. My answer is that it's a matter of goal setting in terms of accepting different lifestyles. Just a smile from a client can be a great success for me.In view of my 23 years of work at Cafe Inkognito, I can clearly say that I consider the fact that our clients are getting older and older as a great success in which we are also involved. At the beginning of my work, many of our clients died very young and much too early between the ages of 25 and 35 from overdoses or the accompanying illnesses / symptoms of addiction. Today I am very happy that we have some clients who are now 60 - 65 years old.
Who are the people behind your project and what you can tell about them?
Three social workers work in the Cafe Inkognito, with me another woman, Yvonne, and a man, Achim. We have been a great team for over 20 years and love grassroots drug work. Achim is also still on the road as a street social worker and we are both still busy with a few hours in the outpatient assisted living, which makes even more intensive individual aid possible.
What are you going to do, if you receive 10.000 Dollars for your project?
With the unspeakably large sum of $ 10,000 I would 1. I am committed to ensuring that every client and their relatives and friends can receive "Naloxon" nasal spray as an emergency medication for use in acute overdose to aid survival. 2. Buy sufficient groceries and hygiene articles for many months to be given directly to our visitors, as the Corona crisis has caused more and more people in need who need direct help to find us 3. the international day of remembrance for deceased drug users on July 21. in the next few years with our clients even more dignified and more socially aware than we could in previous years. 4. offer some leisure activities at the request of our clients. 5. Prepare a great meal for our traditional Christmas party and buy individual gifts for each client and put a smile on their faces.
If you could have ONE wish in life, what would it be? Share your heart, mind & love with us.
I wish for global peace without poverty and impoverishment with the help of love, empathy, esteem and respect for every person and their very individual life plans all over the world.