The MANN+HUMMEL Foundation has been supporting gatherings for young people in and with several of Ludwigsburg’s twin towns since 1991. Its exchange projects come in different forms, ranging from typical school exchanges, sports days and joint cultural events, through to supporting training centres. When the political events in the Crimea almost caused the Foundation’s long-term exchange with Yevpatoria to come to an end in 2015, the Foundation initiated a special project.

The principle behind the social gatherings for young people supported by the MANN+HUMMEL Foundation is simple: A group of young people from Ludwigsburg – usually consisting of school pupils, musicians, sportspeople or industry trainees – meets a group from one of Ludwigsburg’s twin towns. The groups either meet in Ludwigsburg or one of the twin towns, coming together to, for instance, make music, train at a football camp or take part in a film workshop. The events are always educational, sport-related or cultural. Helping with any language barriers are university students, who chaperone the groups. The MANN+HUMMEL Foundation supports this exchange by making a financial contribution from their endowment fund. Funding for these gatherings usually comes from more than one source, with the young people also required to pay something themselves.

Andrea Roggon with participants of Kinderfilmstudio „Erster Schritt“

Andrea Roggon with participants (Kinderfilmstudio „Erster Schritt“)

‘Dumpling’ – the play

In the past, funding from the Foundation has enabled many different innovative measures to be put into practice, enabling a new spin on the classic school exchange or club meeting. Pupils of the theatre group (‘Theater-AG’) at the Mörike-Gymnasium (high school) worked on such a project in 2009/10, collaborating with their French partner school, Lycée Cuvier in Montbéliard, to independently put on a Franco-German play – ‘Boule de suif’/’Der Offizier und die Hure’ – also known as ‘Dumpling’ and written by Guy de Maupassant. Their play premièred as part of the 50th anniversary of the partnership between the towns, winning awards such as the Special Culture Award (Sonderkulturpreis) from the City of Ludwigsburg and being invited to give performances elsewhere, including at the ‘Theatertage am See’ festival in Friedrichshafen. The grant received from the Foundation paid for the group’s travel and accommodation and for the technology used to assemble the stage.

The Violino violin ensemble and the youth choir in front of the Pushkin Theatre in Yevpatoria on 7 September 2015

Exchange between young people against all odds

Sometimes, the financial support provided by the MANN+HUMMEL Foundation can even help to break down barriers: When the long-time exchange between Crimean youngsters in Ludwigsburg’s twin town Yevpatoria was put in jeopardy due to the turbulent political situation in 2015, a small group from Ludwigsburg defied the warning issued by the German Foreign Office against travelling to the Crimea and made their way to the town to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the partnership with the young people there. Among those travelling was City of Ludwigsburg Musical Director Professor Siegfried Bauer, who has worked with the youth choirs and orchestras of both cities for many years and successfully staged many major musical events. For the anniversary concert in Yevpatoria on 7 September 2015, Professor Bauer successfully brought together the Violino youth violin ensemble, the youth choir and the youth balalaika ensemble on one stage.

Dancing on stilts

Also taking part in the anniversary performance was the Yevpatoria stilt theatre. These Yevpatorians dance on stilts, compete in high-level acrobatics competitions, do the splits and pirouette. The stilt theatre owes its existence to the partnership with Ludwigsburg – the stilt walkers were supported by the MANN+HUMMEL Foundation when they were first starting out after all. This Yevpatorian stilt theatre is now internationally renowned and has been invited to perform its act on all continents.

The youth balalaika ensemble performing alongside the stilt walkers during the multi-act concert at the theatre

Founded in 1991

The MANN+HUMMEL Foundation was set up in 1991 to mark MANN+HUMMEL GmbH’s 50th anniversary and had 500,000 Deutsche Marks of capital at its disposal. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide youth welfare services, and to support gatherings for young people from different countries in particular. The Foundation is held in trust by the City of Ludwigsburg, represented by the mayor. For its 75th anniversary, MANN+HUMMEL is holding out the prospect of an increase in the endowment and will be making a special donation.