Beneath the veneer of Hamburg’s sister city, many people live below the poverty line. Tuberculosis is once again on the rise and AIDS has one of world’s highest growth rates here.
Very little money for social services
More than 6000 people do not have a roof over their heads and live on the streets of the city. Various dedicated organizations provide concrete survival help, advice and support. They are dependent on support from abroad since very little money is spent in Russia on social services. The Diakonische Werk Hamburg has provided support to specific projects for many years by making donations and exchanging experiences as well as providing expertise at the professional level. These are contributions that help people in emergency situations; however it is also necessary to help them help themselves. In line with this, the Diakonische Werk Hamburg is working with its partners to create structures that will ensure long term financial support to social services in the city. We regularly compare notes with our partners on these subjects.
Just like in Hamburg the Night Bus is on the road every night in Saint Petersburg, making several stops at places where the homeless gather. It provides a hot meal, tea and counseling. The first bus began working in 2001; it was purchased with donations from Hamburg. By now the “third generation” of the Midnight Bus is on the road – thanks to successful fundraising campaigns in Hamburg and Saint Petersburg.
You can read the latest information on the Night Bus on Nochlezhka’s website and on the Hamburg Mitternachtsbus (Night Bus) website.
A close partnership also links the Saint Petersburg Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany. A 1999 agreement that was carried forward on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of this partnership specifies the expectations each of the churches place on each other and list concrete steps to be taken to fulfill them.