Treasure chest party brings people with disabilities together

treasure chest party brings people with disabilities together

The bass booms. A brief look ahead. Eye contact with the flickering light of the spotlights. A touch of dancing. A drink together. Maybe two. Chatting and seeing if the wavelength is right. After that, the rough question: do I get the phone number?? This is what the weekend rituals look like in discotheques and clubs all over the country. And probably everyone knows how difficult it is to approach someone. If you think about how you met your partner, then these scenes are probably also somewhere in the back of your mind.

"Basically, our party runs just like any other party. Dance, look around, chat and maybe have a drink together", says birgit sauerschell. It sits on the first floor of the caritas curative education center in lichtenfels. In the neat little house on schillerstrabe, your club, the "treasure chest of franconia, its seat. Two buttons on the table in front of her. "I am still available" it says on the blue "i'm looking for a friend on the green. It is the discreet signs with which the party guests on friday, 1. March, in the AC hall in lichtenfels will go on the prowl.

400 euro from the donation association
The "treasure chest" is a dating agency that specializes in bringing people with disabilities together. For the second time, the association organizes a "treasure chest party" in lichtenfels. Co-organizer is the heilpadagogisches zentrum der caritas lichtenfels, which is also the sponsor of the registered association. The event is financed – among other sponsors – by "franconia helps franconia", the donation association of the media group upper franconia (MGO). The latter contributes 400 euros to the "treasure chest party. The association supports charitable projects in france with donations from private individuals and companies. The goal: to honor honorary work and encourage social commitment. "The dating service for disabled people is a very special way of integration in society", says christina beil, at the MGO for "franken helfen franken" competent.

Not just for the disabled
And birgit sauerschell also emphasizes the integrative character: "it's definitely not just a get-to-know-you party for the disabled." For her, it is important to bring all people together, in line with the concept of inclusion. No isolation, but a colorful mixture. Therefore, she invites everyone, even those without disabilities, to come by and look around.

"What you notice right away is that disabled people are much less inhibited about approaching someone", the 48-year-old talks enthusiastically about the first party in april 2012. There are simply not the rough hurdles that non-disabled people often face when looking for a partner. Either the guests talk to each other directly while dancing, or they go to the specially set-up wall with letters from the seekers. "Since many can't read or write, the most important thing is of course the picture", says birgit sauerschell.
Before the first party in april 2012, she had expected maybe 50 to 100 guests. Came then about 250. Around 50 of them were without disabilities. "We were amazed at how well the event was received", says the 48-year-old.

Arriving from all over france
Visitors came from all over franconia, from bayreuth to hof via nurnberg and ansbach, mostly in groups together with their carers. No wonder, because the topic of relationship and partnership is very important for the disabled people. The desire to have a boyfriend or girlfriend is very coarse. Eroticism usually plays a subordinate role, according to the partner mediator. Even if they live farther apart and only meet a few times a year, simply having someone to talk to on the phone is the most important thing for many disabled people.

"In the facilities and workshops, people have often been together since kindergarten times. It's hard to get to know someone new", says the psychologist who founded the association in 2010. Her model for this was the "treasure chests" in northern germany, which has existed since the end of the 1990s. "We are still the only ones in bavaria. There is still a lot of work to be done in the dating of disabled people."

File of 60 people
But the get-to-know-you parties are only one of the association's mainstays. Around 60 physically or mentally handicapped people have already been registered in birgit sauerschell's card index. So far, she has suggested six people to do so. That sounds like relatively little. Considering the fact that the placement is difficult due to the different degrees of disability. For example, there are many mentally handicapped people who don't want a scooter driver – and conversely, some physically handicapped people are prejudiced against the mentally handicapped, says the mediator.

To be included in the list, each applicant must come to lichtenfels in person. Schlieblich, birgit sauerschell has to make up her own mind in order to bring the right two together later on. She has already experienced many touching moments. The name, age, workplace, a self-description and a profile of the desired person are recorded.

She has already experienced many touching moments. One of her clients had to be driven to a flower store by his caregiver. Schlieblich wanted to bring his girlfriend a rose. But birgit sauerschell has also experienced separations: "at the beginning, the two were still one heart and one soul. Kiss here, kiss there. But after two or three weeks, he suddenly found her to be absolutely out of line." How it is with relationships. A sign that the "treasure chest" is a success in lichtenfels does a completely normal job.

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