The ‘’ZMO Mainz e.V. – Kultur, Secondhand, Soziales’’ (‘ZMO’ as it is better known to all) in Mainz, Germany, focuses on migrant support and intercultural bonding through a variety of initiatives and projects.
The main aims and challenges
‘’ZMO focuses on everyone who needs support, regardless of their nationality and religion, because they believe that everyone is equal and deserves help’’
One of the organization’s main goals is to focus on helping people from different countries, as well as others in need, such as immigrants who find themselves in difficult situations. In the past, the ZMO focused mainly on Eastern European nations, in particular, they have helped people from former Soviet Union countries and migrants (the first definition of ZMO was „Zusamen mit osteuropa” which means „together with eastern Europe”). However, now ZMO focuses on everyone who needs support, regardless of their nationality and religion, because they believe that everyone is equal and deserves help. ZMO Mainz e.V. is a nonprofit association, established in 1971.
As part of its activities, ZMO carries out specific projects to support those it helps. Examples of projects include organizing German language courses, painting lessons with Olena Rabynovych, an Ukrainian artist who conducts art therapy to help heal mental injuries in war refugees, selling very cheap clothes in their shop, books at a symbolic price or porcelain and kitchen equipment. A large number of Turks are involved in taking donations and distributing them in their country, especially to those in need related to the conflict with Syria.
Nevertheless, the cooperation of ZMOs with other nationalities is not without its challenges and difficulties. ‘’There is a language barrier and sometimes a lack of willing, qualified professionals who are willing to volunteer and help with projects. These challenges can hinder effective interaction and the achievement of the intended goals’’ – says Amadeus Sardon, the Managing Director of the Association.
Promotion of the cultural understanding & most successful cooperation projects
ZMO also aims to promote cultural understanding and exchange between Germans and other nations. They do this by organizing concerts, workshops and other cultural events that allow for mutual knowledge and appreciation of cultural diversity. In addition, the promotion of books as a source of knowledge at low prices contribute to increasing access to different cultures and traditions.
‘’Through the implementation of various projects, it has gained the trust of many people who support it financially and through donations. The organization also provides counselling on a wide range of issues, which contributes to increasing support for those in need’’ – adds Erika Benz who works as Deputy Chairwoman.
The prospects for future collaboration & the Initiatives the ZMO takes to build links
‘’Cinematography is an excellent medium for understanding cultural diversity and looking at the world from different perspectives’’
The hope for future cooperation with others are promising, and the organization plans to introduce new projects and initiatives, including the construction of new shops and a movie club.
‘’The new shops will not only be a place where items can be purchased at attractive prices, but also provide a platform for cultural exchange. In such places, exhibitions can be seen and workshops can be held to present the cultural traditions of the country in question’’ – Benz utters.
Another innovative project of the organization is a Movie Club that will show films from different countries and other regions of the world in their languages with subtitles in English or German. The cinematography is an excellent medium for understanding cultural diversity and looking at the world from different perspectives. The ZMO’s Movie Club can become a meeting place for people with different backgrounds who want to share their experiences and insights about the films presented.
As before, cooperation with the German parliament, the Mainz parliament and the city provides important support in achieving these goals.
‘’The organization will continue its efforts to promote culture as a tool for integration’’
In partnership with other nationalities, the organization will continue its efforts to promote culture as a tool for integration and mutual respect. ‘’ZMO is also open to working with artists and organizing concerts to provide them with a platform to communicate their art and culture’’ – Sardon brings in.
The main benefits for Germany of ZMO’s cooperation
’The integration of different cultures and communities fosters an increase in understanding between them, which contributes to the development of civil society and has a positive impact on the country’s economy’’
The main benefits for Germany come from building links between different nationalities and cultures, which can increase understanding between communities and enrich the multicultural character of Germany.
The rest benefits of cooperation stem from the formation of an open and multicultural society. Interaction with different nationalities contributes to Germany’s cultural enrichment and promotes tolerance and mutual respect. The integration of different cultures and communities fosters an increase in understanding between them, which contributes to the development of civil society and has a positive impact on the country’s economy.
All in all, the ‘’ZMO Mainz e.V. – Kultur, Secondhand, Soziales’’ in Mainz plays an important role in promoting understanding between different peoples and cultures, supporting those in need and integrating communities. Through its various projects and initiatives, the organization creates a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience between different groups of people, which contributes to building a more sustainable and supportive local and global community. Its efforts contribute to building a better, more united and supportive society both in Germany and in other regions of the world.
Texte et photos : Julia Machowska