ROMAN R. RÜDIGER
Roman grew up in Silesia (a region of present day Poland) in a family that taught him a “can do mentality.” At the age of 12, he immigrated to Germany, experiencing himself how difficult it can be to integrate in German schools with limited language skills.
Already in his school days he was engaged in urban youth organizations and was a deputy to the local youth assistance committee. He realized that progress happens when you push the envelope: When budgets were to be cut for youth, he organized a demonstration and put a pile of cow dung in front of the local town hall. He studied social pedagogy and accomplished his mandatory social service year, and at a young age became managing director of a youth support organization. In 2000, he became the leader of the department for youth support of the Workers’ Welfare Organization, one of the big social service providers, in Düsseldorf.
During his time at the WWO, he started working with Kurt Faller, a pioneer in school mediation, who had witnessed “buddy” schemes in the USA to empower gay and immigrant communities. At the same time, he was inspired by a prevention program for street children that focused on social and emotional competencies. Excited by these new approaches, he worked to launch buddY as a new institution in 2005, which set him on the path to where he is today.
(Quelle: Ashoka Germany)