The EMBL Aid group started in 2014 by donating clothes for refugees and this was soon followed by fundraising to support other projects. The first fundraiser was a Bake Sale in October 2015, which raised almost 1500 Euros in a single lunch hour. EMBL Heidelberg’s Photography Club soon followed by organising a photo competition, with the winning images used to compile a special 2016 calendar – almost 2700 Euros was raised through sales. This success was repeated again for 2017, raising another 1500 Euros. Finally, the EMBL Aid group organised a special Secret Valentine in February by delivering Heidelberg Student Kisses to colleagues and raised almost 550 Euros. These fundraising events couldn’t have happened without the support of the Photolab, the drivers, reception, the canteen, the Petty Cash office and many others across EMBL.
Further projects have included:
Photographic Club’s Calendars
The EMBL Photographic Club in Heidelberg held competitions in 2015 and 2016 and the winning images were put into 2016 and 2017 calendars. The calendars were distributed at all EMBL and managed to raise over 2500 Euros in 2016 and 1500 Euros in 2017. The winning images also toured all EMBL sites.
EMBL staff were asked to donate old bikes for refugees and Bike Club members volunteered to carry out maintenance work to ensure they were fit for use. Around 300 Euros raised through the Bake Sale was used to fund repair kits and replacement parts.
Arts & Crafts Club support
The Arts & Crafts Club organisers, Yvonne Yeboah and Eva Haas, have volunteered their time offering weekly lessons to children of the refugees at the Caritasverband in Heidelberg. The EMBL Aid group has supported the lessons by contributing around 150 Euros towards materials.
Before the school year started in 2016, EMBL Aid spent just over 600 Euros for school kits for 25 refugee children. Staff in the Müller store on Bismarckplatz spent hours carefully collecting and packing all the much-needed individual kits.
Welcome event 2015 and Christmas Party 2016
The EMBL Aid group welcomed refugees at EMBL Heidelberg at the end of 2015 and 2016. Refugees were entertained by the EMBL Choir and Macumba Clubs and given gift vouchers to spend in the local shops. They also enjoyed homemade cakes and refreshments. In 2015, gift vouchers were donated individually by staff and in 2016, EMBL Aid donated just over 1800 Euros for vouchers.
Cooking for Hope
Juliah Rais-Morres used to run a Malaysian restaurant in Heidelberg and now offers Malaysian and Asian cooking courses. In 2016, she started Cooking for Hope, specifically aimed at teaching young refugees how to cook. Juliah joined the EMBL Aid group for their Christmas Party in 2016 and has received more than 200 Euros from EMBL Aid to support specific activities.
The Caritasverband is the main charity that the EMBL Aid group reached out to when the refugees arrived in the Heidelberg area in 2015. It started with clothes donations, then bikes and in 2016 EMBL Aid donated just over 1000 Euros towards a communal kitchen for the refugees. They have also now started a new project called “Providing Perspectives” to help refugees prepare themselves to apply for new jobs. EMBL Aid donated just over 500 Euros for their application materials and the Photography Club volunteered their time to take photos for their CVs. They are organising a Job Fair for the refugees at the end of March 2017.
This project is associated with the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut (DAI) in Heidelberg and is mainly composed of university students. Past projects included building a tent with the refugees which was then rented out for mobile events around Heidelberg. They started a new project called “EDUcreation” in 2017 which will help towards the integration of refugees in Germany. They offer 10-week workshops in craftsmanship skills training working with wood, metal and stone. The EMBL Aid donated 1250 Euros towards one of these projects which normally cost 2500 Euros each.