Mensch. Menschen. People. We are people. We are a chain. Something happens to one person. A whole bunch of other people gets affected by that. Even by just knowing that something happened to their beloved one. And so it spreads. We can claim to be lonely or alienated, marginalized. This doesn’t make us less of a person, less of people. So. No matter how you want to call it, no matter which language you speak or what/whom you believe in, you’ve got some veins full of blood running under your flesh. You’ve got a brain that commands your heart to beat. You are Mensch.
These are weird times. We say that too often but by pointing out to the problem, we do nothing to fix it. The sooner we’ll realize that we’re all together in this, the better. For all of us. By helping each other, we’re helping our kind to evolve. From the East to the West, from the North to the South. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jewish, atheists, everyone! We all have made mistakes. We’re all paying for them one way or another. Nobody is perfect and that’s ok. Before you exclude yourselves from the Syrians’ tragedy, think twice. Just flip the coin and imagine that you were in need.
That’s a summary of Maria Koch’s beautiful thoughts. Maria started an ambitious charity campaign called ‘MENSCH’. If you’re a regular on NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION, you surely heard of that before. Through her personal blog (OH.BOY Shop), she expressed her views on what’s happening in the world. Since there is a great influx of refugees in Europe, she decided to do something in order to actively help. She designed the ‘Mensch’ T-shirts and printed them with the help of Spreadshirt DE. The idea is simple, you buy a T-shirt and you do good. The income from the tees is going to an organization called ‘Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk‘, that’s fighting for equal chances for the refugee children. They also provide full meals to the children coming from poorer households. Which is really nice of them, don’t you think?
We had the chance to talk with Maria about everything. If you’re interested in supporting Mensch and its mission, you can find all links you need under the interview.
How did you decide to start up Mensch?
I am a reflective and thoughtful person. I love to observe people and proceedings while listening to various opinions to reflect and to find my own way. In the last years, I had the chance to get to know a lot of people, personalities, and cultures. I lived in Paris, worked in Jerusalem and traveled a lot to experience and get to know our fascinating planet. Most of the times I realized that prejudices create fear and resentment. To be open minded, to accept different people and situations seems to be the key for harmonious togetherness. Last weeks, I noticed a lot of comments given to the latest news. Most of the time, people commented these articles with negativity. They attacked each other and the gap became wider and wider. I am talking about people that feel frightened. Anxiety only develops when people feel left alone and not informed. I think this is a normal human expression of the needs for safety. These people shouldn’t be left alone, they should rather be brought to the perception that everyone is equal and everyone should have the right to live in safety.
I want to be ‘positive’. The idea was to use a simple word to communicate a statement. I decided for the German word ‘MENSCH’. It means ‘human’. MENSCH stands for togetherness, community, solidarity, helping each other – simply being human.
We judge each other, start wars but we seem to forget that we all own the same pass in this world – we’re humans. You’re right, but how do you think that your campaign will help us understand the basics?
I think people need something to hold on. Values and standards could build this ground. This is a basis where our personality can grow with the help of our parents, friends, teachers and society. Without basics, individuals, and the society can not grow. They cannot even exist. But, all of us together, we are the builders of these values. We have the power to decide how we want to live. MENSCH is literally defined as the following: humans are the ones that can think logical and speak a language. Human beings are able to make ethical decisions.
I think, it is not our task to judge other people’s lives. Furthermore, we do not have the right to decide if people grow up in war, fear and without a chance to change something. The term MENSCH unites us all. MENSCH connects all of us and we all should seize the opportunity to do our best, together and to help each other.
Tell us about the charity part. Where does the money go?
Certainly we want to achieve something with our campaign. Alongside communicating the campaign MENSCH on shirts, to stand for it and to build a community, we donate the money to DKHW – a charity organization that dedicates its power to Kids.
Why did you decide for the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk?
In 1986 Herbert Grönemeyer, a German singer sang : ‘gebt den Kindern das Kommando, sie berechnen nicht was sie tun’ – ‘give the control in children hands, cause they do not calculate their acts’.
The best investment you can make is in children and in their future. Because their future is also ours. The DKHW invests in health, education and the development of our children. I like to help where people can comprehend what is happening with their donations. For more than 40 years, the DKHW is actively committed to children’s rights, developing projects and involving children and teenagers. Reason enough to support their actions.
We appreciate the Grönemeyer reference since we’re big fans of him. Somebody should let him know about this campaign, by the way. Ideally speaking, what’s the best thing that can happen through Mensch?
Amen. Anything else you’d like to say Maria?
I’d like to give thanks to people, singers, bloggers, family, and friends, who support us. Without you it would not work. DANKE.
^^ Maria Koch and Jörg Hartung with their original, handmade T-Shirts.
If you’d like to support Maria’s initiative, you can purchase a Mensch T-shirt here. All photos courtesy of Maria Koch.