Gangway’s Philosophy

„Every human being is determined to be a success and the world is determined to make that success possible.“
(UNESCO report, Paris 1972)

Gangway – that is social Streetwork in Berlin
We meet the people we work with in their living environment. We are guests there – respectful, appreciating and actively listening. We communicate with them at eye level and offer practical advice without conditions.
We stand for strengthening everyone’s individual abilities and therefore afford people the participation in the resources of the society.
We respect and encourage people’s right to self-determine their perspectives and their everyday life.
We advocate for an open public space where everybody has the right to stay and to unfold.
We oppose consequently against any kind of misanthropy, racism and marginalisation.
We understand the diversity of cultures, languages and concepts of living as enrichment and a resource for our society.

We work in a city of diversity

The cultural diversity as the basis of a rapidly changing demographic mixture in German cities is a fact that is reflecting in all parts of our society.
“Multicultural society” as we understand it, means diversity in an open society. It is based on the idea of an equal togetherness of all people. To create good conditions for a “multicultural society” it is necessary to tolerate other ways of life, cultural norms, values, religious concepts and languages and to submit offers of integration actively.
To that effect Gangway since it’s foundation in 1990 stands for the work with marginalized, handicapped and stigmatized people and for reaching out for those who are hard to approach. In that context we do whatever is possible for us to countervail any kind of structural and usual group-related misanthropy, marginalization and discrimination. To achieve this, the cultural sensitivity of all colleagues is a major condition and therefore also is a main criterion in the politics of employment. Gangway sees its duty in a continuing process of intercultural opening which is fulfilled by frequently organized vocational training in order to enable its employees to come up with the realities of society. Forming a society of diversity is an important challenge for all societal protagonists, and Gangway will work on it, also in the times to come.


Gangway – that is social Streetwork in Berlin. Around 70 people work in 23 teams: 14 teams offer detached social youth work in its conventional meaning. 6 teams offer additional services for young people and 3 are working with adults in public places. Gangway’s Streetworkers are going where their addressees are meeting – into public places and streets. They orientate themselves at their needs and interests, make proposals for their realization and act as partners and advocates. It’s their aim to encourage people to take their lives in their own hands. They find solutions for the problems of the young people and the adults, help them to communicate with the with administrations and authorities, assist at the search for jobs and/or education and look for the best fitting support in extremely complicated or dangerous situations.
They moderate in conflicts with parents, other relatives, school, formation or in the neighbourhood.
Gangway e.V. was founded in 1992 and is funded by the Senat von Berlin, by several district services of Berlin and by private donations.

From the street, for the street!

Every child and youngster has the right of getting assistance in its individual development of a personality (see §1 SGB VIII). “Aufsuchende Sozialarbeit” (Streetwork) is based on § 13 SGB VIII and brings help and assistance to places where young people need them but cannot be reached by other measures of social work.

§ 13 of the “Berliner Ausführungsgesetz zum SGB VIII” defines: „Aufsuchende Jugendsozialarbeit is mainly addressing abandoned, aggressive, resignative, addiction prone and delinquent young people and encourages their social integration. Its offerings are to be organized straight in the living environment of the young people. They comprise individual counselling, group work, project workshops and district work. The local youth authority (Jugendamt) has to secure the necessary precautions to realise those offerings also on a short-term basis.

Especially young people with a bad scholar education and/or a bad job qualification, with a complicated social-economic status and a non-conventional behaviour need assistance in many ways. That’s why Streetworkers are going where those people meet – to the public places and streets of Berlin – in order to make first contact and to work together with them on the improvement of their life conditions.

You cannot stand on one leg only…
Methodical operation modes and goals of working with young people

  • to meet young people and making first contact in public places
  • to build up trust and resilient relations
  • to approach the needs of the young people and to encourage them to stand for their own interests
  • social learning in group and project work, in political education, in sports and spare time activities
  • leisure time and adventure pedagogic
  • to initiate intercultural and international encounters
  • anti-violence trainings and trainings of social competence
  • to strengthen self-responsibility and enable self-organization
  • to transmit values and to initiate processes of education
  • to offer individual assistance and help – counselling and intensive individual casework
  • to connect with continuative assistance
  • to develop job perspectives
  • to assist with social (re-)integration
  • to solve conflicts in public space
  • to work in the community, in boards and public relations as well as cooperation and networking with other institutions

Just a drop in the ocean?
Sense and avails of Social Streetwork in Berlin are evident in many cases.

Streetworkers are indispensable in the work with young people on the streets of Berlin. They close a widely opened gap: They go to those young people who aren’t reached by other societal institutions, who are socially disadvantaged and whose individual development and social integration are at risk.
Streetwork acts as a bridge that connects youngsters with the society. By doing so, Streetwork offers an important contribution to individual evolution, but also for the cohesion of our society. Streetwork can recognize negative trends early and develop suitable counter-strategies.

To see through, to look in and to take care.
Principles and methods of working with young people

The cooperation of Streetworkers and young people is based on fundamental principles:

  • partiality and transparency
  • voluntariness, acceptance and low thresholds
  • anonymity and confidence
  • orientation on everyday life and needs
  • to frequent public places
  • flexibility, liability and continuity

Streetwork as a deep-seated part of Berlin’s youth care and welfare system

  • is efficient social work in mixed-gender and intercultural teams.
  • shows continuous presence in public places.
  • uses a multitude of methods and approaches.
  • responds with flexibility to changing conditions in the public space.
  • offers regular quality development and dialogues of evaluation and effectiveness.
  • builds bridges and establishes networks.

Specialized teams complement the Streetworkers in fields like drugs, addictions, education, formation, jobs and juvenile cultures. This is an important contribution to the process of holistic assistance to young people. By this the addressees get the chance to take their lives in their own hands, to master the hurdles on their ways and to pass the different stages of their individual evolution.

Streetworkers are convinced: In every young person there is a potential of power, talent and creativity which is to be found, to be evolved and to be encouraged – so that succeeding life perspectives can become reality.

Finde uns