The workers’ welfare association (awo) celebrated its founding 100 years ago on saturday in the multi-generation house, and 17 long-standing members were honored. "The awo local association is an important part of the senior citizens’ work in our city", declared the chairwoman ursula haslauer at her funeral.
Mayor german hacker and district chairman christian pech (both SPD) pointed out in their speeches the outstanding importance of the awo in caring for and supporting the vulnerable. The mayor pointed out that the organizations in the city, which take care of the weak and those who are not on the sunny side of life, are doing an excellent job, but there is still much room for improvement. We must say "thank you" for this, and not just today say the mayor. "Because the awo is an indispensable pillar and support of our society", explained the mayor.
In his ceremonial address, district chairman pech embarked on a journey back in time to the 100-year history of the arbeiterwohlfahrt, or awo for short. It was founded in berlin in 1919, at that time as an organization within the SPD (social democratic party of germany). Today, it is one of the six leading german voluntary welfare organizations and has more than 200,000 full-time employees and around 330,000 members nationwide.
"The awo doesn’t ask for long, it acts – as a reliable partner in times of need in many areas", christian pech summarized the professional work of the local associations. With its daycare centers, drop-in centers for people in need, many counseling centers for people in problematic situations and, last but not least, its commitment to helping refugees, the awo is there when it is needed, explained the district chairman.
Thus the emergence and development of the awo is also a mirror image of the development of women within society and their emancipation movement. The period after the first world war was marked by hunger, misery and political unrest. Marie juchacz founded the "arbeiterwohlfahrt" to help men returning from the war, as well as their mothers, wives and children.
As the first female member of the SPD in the reichstag, marie juchacz campaigned for women’s suffrage – and only a short time later founded the awo as the main committee for labor welfare in the SPD. "The SPD needs such women again today, more than ever", the district chairman emphasized. Since its founding, the awo has fought for comprehensive equality between men and women. Women’s policy remains a central component of equal opportunities policy. Because: "women are still disadvantaged in almost all areas of society – an untenable situation", pech stated.
In a quick run-through of the parallels between awo and the women’s movement, he recalled, among other things, women’s suffrage from 1919, the progressive legal equality of women in the GDR, and the fight against the abortion paragraph 218, which awo believes has still not been won today.
At the same time, the awo has always been political with concrete resolutions, explained the district chairman: for example, in the fight against right-wing extremism. "100 years of awo also means 100 years of freedom, public spirit, tolerance and solidarity with the weaker citizens of mitburg. An act like the one in halle must not be repeated in germany – this is also what the awo stands for with its goals", the speaker emphasized.
Nationwide, the awo is divided into 30 district and state associations, more than 400 district associations and 3,500 local associations. The awo district association in erlangen-hochstadt currently employs around 220 people in various facilities and services in the city of erlangen and the district of erlangen-hochstadt. The local association in herzogenaurach has been in existence for 65 years.