Documentaries about people and their worlds

We help ourselves - Self-Empowerment

in Stuttgart and Cologne changes the city


In production

A film of Susanne Böhm und Uwe Kassai

A production for SWR in the series Echtes Leben

What happens when people who are homeless or houseless start to help themselves?


In Cologne, the homeless André, the Polish immigrant worker Richard and 30 other homeless people occupied a vacant office building a year ago. They call their project "Homeless with a Future" – in short: OMZ (Obdachlose mit Zukunft). ,Living and working together' is their vision. All together, they are responsible for the success or failure of their common idea. And they experience that they can make a difference. Pastor Mörtter intermediates with the municipal authorities. After several attempts to remove them, the administration commits itself to supporting the project, but still insists on demolishing the house. How will things continue for the residents? Will the alternative building be fitting for the residents' working projects and visions?


When, due to Corona, the food distribution points for the people in need has to close, Harry and Iva open a mobile food supply for drug addicted people who are substituted under the Paulinenbrücke in Stuttgart. The more visible and active the group becomes, the more support they receive. This is how "Harry's Bude" was born, a self-organized food distribution for foodsharing donations, on the area of St. Mary's parish next door, with Harry as the organizer. Iva also plans to organize the homeless women. When an office building close to "Harry's Bude" became vacant, it was seen as a sign of fate to set up a place where people could warm up. But even the welfare institutions and parts of St. Maria's refuse, because it is not usual for this kind of community to act on its own, or even to make demands. But the "Paule Club," as they call themselves, has its support in the city and therefore stays stubborn - if necessary without a street worker, despite police repressions and the pressure of the public order office.

Editor: Katrin Grünewald (SWR) 

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