SOZIALHELDEN (Social Heroes) is a German nonprofit organisation that has been developing creative projects which address social problems since 2004. The enthusiastic activists draw attention to important issues and offer practical solutions in a spirit of diversity, inclusion and fun. Combining innovative ideas with a sense of humor has proven to be a very successful mix: the Berlin-based team has won a slew of prestigious international and national prizes, including ones from Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the former VP of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes. The organisation’s founder and chairman, Raúl Krauthausen, is an Ashoka-fellow and bearer of the Federal Order of Merit of Germany.
How it all began…
The nonprofit organisation SOZIALHELDEN was founded by the cousins Raúl Krauthausen and Jan Mörsch. As kids they had crazy ideas and a dream that one day they would start something big together. But what would it be?
Because their family has roots in South America and Raúl uses a wheelchair, the two young men grew up with an awareness for the social issues surrounding poverty, inequality, dependance on others and the pitfalls of pity. This background shaped their decision to get involved in a social cause. They would get involved by doing that which they are good at: coming up with new ideas and putting them into action – having fun all the while.
2004 was the year it all began. The reality talent show “Germany Seeks the Superstar” was very popular at the time and the cousins asked themselves if it might not be possible to have a casting show for something more meaningful. Together with a local Berlin radio station they started a search for a SuperAssistant for Raúl, who needs assistance for activities of daily living. The campaign was a big success. More than 150 candidates applied for the position and the winner became Raul’s new assistant.
After this success it was obvious. This had to continue. New projects had to be found. SOZIALHELDEN was born.
That is now more than 10 years ago. What began with two socially conscious students has turned into a large network of volunteers and a registered nonprofit organisation with many successful projects. Using creative ideas the SOZIALHELDEN team draws attention to social problems and works together towards eliminating them.
SOZIALHELDEN wants to make people aware of social problems, encourage them to see things from a different perspective and get them involved in making the world a little bit better place.
Why the Name “SOZIALHELDEN” (Social Heroes)?
For social activism to be fun a sense of humor is important. Tongue in cheek messages, a bit of irony, a healthy dose of unconvential thinking and a provocative name help to deliver our message. We believe anybody can be a Social Hero because everybody possesses hidden powers. Using these powers to do good while addressing important issues, making sure one is heard and seen: that’s what makes a Social Hero.