On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, Hildegard Denninger spoke energetically and enthusiastically to our group about BISS e.V. Frau Denninger is the managing director of the non-profit association BISS e.V. which she transformed into a successful social business. Last year she was awarded the National German service medal (“Bundesverdienstkreuz”) for these efforts.
The mission of BISS is to help people help themselves. BISS is the German abbreviation of “Bürger in sozialen Schwierigkeiten” which means “Citizens in social problems”. BISS gives the homeless and the poor the chance to earn money, and thus find their place in society. It envisions a participatory society in which marginalized groups, such as the unemployed, under-qualified, or younger people without vocational training, are given access to societal resources, such as work, money, education, communication and social networks.
BISS magazine was launched in 1993 and is the oldest street paper in Germany. With BISS, the homeless and the poor have the chance to earn money by selling the magazine of the same name. The buyers can help a homeless person directly. Furthermore, by providing a quality magazine which the vendors are proud to sell, the financial transaction exceeds a charitable donation. For additional information about the BISS magazine, please see the following website: http://www.biss-magazin.de/.
Now Frau Denninger is working on a second BISS project: “Hotel BISS”. This will be a 4-star hotel with 72 rooms in a building that was formerly a women’s prison. (It is located near the Auer Dult grounds.) There, the non-profit organisation BISS will offer vocational training in the hotel business for up to 40 young men and women who would hardly find training elsewhere. We hope that Frau Denninger can raise enough funding to make the Hotel BISS a reality! For more information about Hotel BISS, please see the following website: http://www.hotelbiss.de/.