We are six students from a small town in Germany called Hamm, who got the opportunity to gain insights into working life in the Fountain House in Copenhagen. Through the cooperation of our school “Elisabeth-Lueders Berufskolleg” with the Erasmus+ program, we were given this opportunity. Our big theme of this trip is inclusion. Through the five days we spent at the Fountain House, we were able to learn more about how inclusion is implemented in Denmark.
Inclusion means the inclusion of people with mental difficulties in the daily life with the aim of creating a sense of community. The Fountain House in Copenhagen enables people to reintegrate into working and daily life and takes into account the individual development of each member. We were able to perceive that this facility creates a safe place for the members. Freedom of choice is created for members, which strengthens self-esteem and makes them feel comfortable. We found it very impressive and admirable that we could already feel the feeling of community and cohesion in the Fountain House on the first day. The staff is very warm and open-minded. We were all integrated into the team and the work. It was also emphasised that we all feel comfortable.
We were most impressed by how the members are integrated. Everyone meets here on an equal footing and has a nice togetherness. We could see that because we could not distinguish the members from the staff. As a result, the Fountain House makes it clear that inclusion works.
Especially compared to Germany, a big difference becomes clear, due to the fact that the members can also participate in the planning of the day, as well as in meetings. By allowing them to participate in these important meetings, their opinion is also included. In this way, they can take responsibility and make decisions to promote their development. In Germany the focus is not on the intense of community.
We are very grateful that we got to know not only the Fountain House but also the Danish culture through the Erasmus+ program. We are also grateful that the Fountain House welcomed us so warmly and enabled us to collect these impressions and experiences. We take a lot of it with us and believe that we can also apply our accumulated knowledge and experience in our later lives.
Fiona & Estella