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Helping youngsters closer to home.

Charity begins at home, and in Germany we’re helping disadvantaged young people who have limited prospects or for various reasons need help integrating in society.

The "I Know I cAn" project was set up by IKA’s owner and chief executive, René Stiegelmann, who came up with the idea after talking to unemployed young people at a playground in Staufen. In 2007, for the first time, we provided three disadvantaged local youngsters from Staufen with an education, offering them real prospects for the first time in their lives. The three were chosen in consultation with experts from youth social services, with the emphasis not so much on traditional recruitment criteria as on their general skills and willingness to make the most of this opportunity. All three underwent a one-year introductory training course, followed by a three-year combined vocational and theoretical course enabling them to qualify as production mechanics. All graduated successfully and are now in permanent employment. We also helped them to find housing, and worked with the Cesar tutoring center, KOBRA drugs advice center and the Catholic women’s welfare service to provide them with all-round support. IKA also paid all the costs involved.

The project received widespread support not only from social services and charities, but also from our own employees and trainees, who took to the idea with enthusiasm.

The established project, which received the SME award for social responsibility, started in 2013 for another round. Our goal is to support many more young people in the same manner.