Cultural Relief Program 2014-2018

The cultural assiciation “dieKunstBauStelle e.V.” is committed to the financing and development of a Cultural Aid Program for refugees in Turkey. The program is aimed at children and young people in refugee camps on the Syrian border.


In view of the large number of refugees in the Mardin region (in December 2014, at least 115,000, including more than 50,000 children and adolescents), an impact had to be made in the broad range, which can reach many people and motivate them to go their own way.

Based on these assumptions, Wolfgang Hauck developed a concept at the end of 2014 which is based on a multiplier effect by giving trainees professional guidance of “Die Stelzer”, who in turn give further trainers the necessary skills to supervise children on this project.

The program is designed to provide at least three years of assistance to Syrian refugees living in the camps near the Syrian border and in the large cities of the neighboring countries of Syria.

  • Theater on stilts is a mixture of artistic and creative techniques. At the same time, the participants are required to fully be in the “here and now”. This focus is particularly important for the stabilization and reorientation of traumatized refugees. It is also a lot of fun, it strengthens resolve and self confidence, as well as social skills.
  • Mediation of group workshop management skills, with theater, artistry, language and artistic techniques
  • Learn and experience social, mental, manual and communicative skills
  • Evaluate and reflect processes
  • Strengthening self-awareness and self-determination
  • Strengthening self-healing
  • The refugees speak Arabic, Persian, Kurdish or special dialects. Without Turkish language skills, no contact with the local population can be achieved.
  • The local population is overrun by the large number of refugees, and by fears and prejudices against them.
  • The accommodation in the state camps of the AFAD is very well organized, but strictly regulated: one exit is only possible every ten days for six hours, the cabins are air-conditioned but without windows.
  • The storage area is shielded.
  • In the municipal refugee camps, important infrastructures are often missing.
  • The transitional camps have been transformed into permanent residence, and a stay of three months has already become a year.
  • Children and adolescents are traumatized and not yet able to participate in a regular school lesson.

A first visit to explore the possibilities and the available infrastructure took place from 6 to 16 December 2014, under the direction of Wolfgang Hauck – chairman of the association and director of the theater on stilts, accompanied and commissioned by the Goethe Institute Istanbul.

During this first visit, realistic and useful support programs, “CRP Mardin”, were developed together with a local NGO.

The program is scheduled to last three years and was organized by the Goethe-Institut. In addition to the organization and infrastructure, the Goethe Institute also prepares the necessary permits on a political level. The financial resources come partly from the Goethe Institute’s own resources and later from the initiative of the Culture Committee of the German Bundestag. Until these funds could be approved within the framework of the administration and voting procedures, interim financing had to be made from third-party funds and donations.

The association kunstBauStelle e.V. helped to acquire donations for the initial phase and to pass them on in a resource-oriented manner.At the end of 2016, the grants of the Goethe Institute as well as the Foreign Office for all programs of this kind were discontinued. Now it is necessary to continue this work with other resources.

Different speakers and trainers will travel to Mardin to conduct courses and workshops in the establishment of the NGO and then in the refugee camp. Parts of the necessary equipment (stilts, costumes, printers, materials) was provided by the Goethe-Institut Istanbul in December.

In December, the first event in the camp took place. In just a few minutes more than 1,500 children and young people were gathered. The camp management very much welcomed the project, despite a strict and general prohibition of film and video recordings, a filmed documentation was made.

From April 2015 onwards, trainers, therapists and experts from Germany will continue the program in Mardin and the refugee camp in Nusaybin with the local NGO (Art Anywhere Association). These stays need to be financed by self-employed volunteers.


Goethe-Institut Istanbul, Türkei
Art Anywhere Association. Mardin, Turkey
The Stelzer – Theatre on Stilts, Landsberg am Lech, Germany


The project started in December 2014. The official continuation is in preparation and is to last until December 2018.Until then, the Goethe Institute financing, donations and voluntary help will continue. The funding is provided by the Goethe Institute Istanbul.

The Verein «kunstBauStelle» is an intermediary of support and support.
Thus, the following grants could be promoted:

  • Rotary Social Fund Greifenberg-Schondorf. e.V.
  • Network Self-help! e.V.


Humanitarian aid for refugee camps:
Cultural Relief Program:


Cultural Relief Program


Munich, 18. October 2015, “Munich Welcome Theatre”, Kammerspiele

Discussion with Taigué Ahmed (Ndam Se Nam, N’Djamena), Pınar Demiral (Her Yerde Sanat/ Überall ist Kunst – Art Anywhere Association, Mardin), Wolfgang Hauck (Die Stelzer) and Maren Niemeyer (Forum on Culture and Humanitarian Relief, Goethe-Institut). Moderation: Christian Lüffe (Goethe-Institut Istanbul).
Cultural Relief -Munich Welcome Theatre

Berlin, 15. April 2016, “Menschen Bewegen 2016”, AKBP Forum,
Presentation and workshop “Cultural Relief Program – Training the Trainers”, Goethe-Institut Istanbul (Christian Lüffe) and “Die Stelzer” (Wolfgang Hauck).
Menschen Bewegen 2016

Berlin, 21. May 2016, “Mehr als Willkommen! Kulturarbeit mit, für und von Geflüchtete(n)”
Presentation “Cultural Relief Program – Training the Trainers”, “Die Stelzer” (Wolfgang Hauck).
Mehr als Willkommen! Kulturarbeit mit, für und von Geflüchtete(n)

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