Name / Title

Oberlausitz – neue Heimat e. V. (OL-NH)

Case Study Region

Direktionsbezirk Dresden, Germany

Geographical coverage

Location: rural town of Löbau
Geographical coverage: Southern area of County of Görlitz


Voluntary group; policy


Main activity / focus


– cultural association of Russian resettlers in Löbau and the surrounding villages: cultural activities, gatherings of resettlers and Germans, cultural events
– until 2009 editing of a regional newspapers from resettlers for resettlers and Germans (Neue Heimat & Impulse plus); since 2010 in form of website
– annual Familienfest (family party) at Löbauer Berg (mountain close to Löbau-Ost) in summer
– community gardening with Germans and resettlers
– employment measures (labour market policies) for unemployed resettlers in the own facilities (e.g. facility management, catering, social work)
– counselling resettlers in legal and administrative issues, providing help with German social security and health insurance, work permit


Target beneficiaries / market


– focus on Russian resettlers
– projects for unemployed resettlers
– elder resettlers, or socially isolated resettlers without own family
– specific encounters for women
– generally all Germans in the region: encounter with resettlers

Year established



Current Funding source(s)

– Federal Ministries (e.g. CIVITAS programme)
– Saxon State Ministries
– County of Görlitz
– City of Löbau
– regional companies (the public housing cooperative, the local water and electricity suppliers)


Oberlausitz – Neue Heimat is an association with more than 70 members, who mostly do volunteer work. Some unemployed members of the association are offered 1€-job agreements (German labour market policy, offering unemployed people in the social security scheme to work but not earn more than 1€/hr). The management of the association is done by 6 employees. About 70 % are Russian resettlers and other immigrants, about 30 % of members are Germans.

Cooperation with: the regional work group ‘Integration der Spätaussiedler’; Arbeitswohlfahrt Oberlausitz (AWO), Christliches Jugenddorfwerk Deutschlands e. V. Löbau (CJD), Demokratischer Frauenbund Landesverband Sachsen e. V., Internationaler Bund (IB), Kulturbüro Sachsen, Internationales Begegnungszentrum St. Marienthal, Integrationsnetzwerk Sachsen, Augen auf e.V.





Why is Oberlausitz – Neue Heimat a good practice?

1. Bringing resettlers and Germans together: OL-NH made it a primary interest to stimulate encounter between resettlers and Germans within the region. The problem of the resettlers is that they are distributed to peripheral locations by the national government once they arrive in Germany. In rural communities this leads to a lot of social tensions. OL-NH tries to meet these tensions and develop a mutual understanding between Germans and resettlers. One major project is the community garden ‘Kalinka’ in which encounters are organized (e.g. barbecues, music events, parties for children). Also the children playground ‘Freizeittreff Sonne’ is such a project.

2. Specific target groups related to demographic change in the region: OL-NH responds to the processes of shrinkage and ageing within the regional society. Also among resettlers it becomes a problem that children cannot care for their old parents because they work in distant prosperous regions in Western Germany. Resettlers face the problem of having no high pensions and only basic health insurance services. OL-NH tries to develop assistance activities for elder and lonesome resettlers in the region. One important pillar of these activities is the own facility – Begegnungszentrum Löbau – which is conceptualized as a Mehrgenerationenhaus (multi-generation house).

3. Counteracting poverty: In own kitchens, resettler volunteers cook hot meals for socially deprived families (Germans as well as resettlers) from the region. They deliver the food to their homes or offer it within own cafeterias.

4. Making unemployment an issue: The access to the German labour market is difficult for resettlers as they are not issued a work permit immediately after arrival. Also their degrees are not always acknowledged in the German labour market. Thus, resettler families suffer from high unemployment. OL-NH tries to get family members out of their isolation in the own home and integrates them into the associations work and thus into public life. In cooperation with the regional employment agencies, measures have been developed to let resettlers work in the association, funded by re-employment programmes.

5. Professional PR and information campaigns: OL-NH developed own mediums to reach a broad regional public and inform about the resettlers’ cultural habits and everyday situation in Germany. Two journals have been published until 2009: Neue Heimat and Impulse plus (the latter is a youth magazine). Today content for resettlers is provided on a website. The association also publishes records with resettler music as well as DVDs about the resettlers’ biographic backgrounds and current lives in the region.


Contact details


Mr Valerias Steinhauer
Oberlausitz – neue Heimat e. V.
Löbauer Begegnungszentrum
Brunnenstraße 3
02708 Löbau

Office: +49 3585 415365
Fax: +49 3585 415368
Mail: info@neue-heimat.org