Gütersloh/Berlin, 12/20/2023

‘An Important Social Issue’

Subject: Society
Country: Germany
Category: Project

In March of this year, the foundation stone was laid for the non-profit Berlin association Straßenkinder e. V.’s “Butze” project: a seven-story shelter for homeless children and young people in the Lichtenberg district. The main private sponsors of the project are Birgit and Thomas Rabe.

Since March of this year, the street children’s house “Butze”  has been under construction in the Berlin district of Lichtenberg. From 2025, this project by the non-profit Berlin association Straßenkinder e. V., unique in Germany, will provide the several hundred homeless children and young people currently living on the streets of Germany’s capital with a new place to go, one that will offer them support on many levels. The main private sponsors of the project with an investment volume of around €19 million, are Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Birgit Rabe.

Thomas Rabe is also one of the people featured in a video clip that forms part of Straßenkinder e. V.’s Christmas campaign, who explain why they support the “Butze” project. “This is an important social issue,” says Thomas Rabe in the video when asked why he and his wife support the “Butze.” “There are so many homeless young people in Berlin, and the idea is to help these young people find a way back into society.” He also calls for the issue of street children to be given more attention by the state. “More needs to happen here,” says Rabe.

At Wönnichstraße 8 in Berlin, the “Butze” is being built on seven stories, with floor space of around 3,400 m² (36,600 sq ft), to provide a variety of day-structuring residential and advisory services in support of the reintegration process for street children. If everything goes according to plan, the street children’s center is set to open in spring 2025. “Thomas Rabe and his wife Birgit made the dream of our street children’s center possible in the first place with their private personal commitment and their ‘Birgit and Thomas Rabe Foundation’,” commented Straßenkinder e. V. in recognition of the Rabes’ contribution. “During the realization and whenever difficulties arose, he always believed in the project along with us.”

The Rabes have advocated for Straßenkinder e. V. since 2020, when Thomas Rabe dedicated his private “Twitter Challenge” to the organization and used the short messaging service to call on athletes – including Bertelsmann employees – to cover certain distances on a bike, in running shoes, or on rowing machines. He pledged a private donation for every kilometer covered, so that in the end €200,000 was raised for Straßenkinder e. V.