This is what children in Wuppertal want

Postcard campaign at the junior university festival
The children’s wishes in Wuppertal

At the junior university’s summer party, Rundschau editor Nina Bossy – herself a future teacher – brought an offer to children and young people: “Write down your wish for Wuppertal, and I will hand it over to the mayor himself.” The promise is, among other things, held. Last week she gave Uwe Schneidewind 198 postcards. And of course they evaluated beforehand. Here’s their recap of the action.

“Mr. Schneidewind,” I ask the mayor in his office in Barmer City Hall, with two thick stacks of criticism, wishes and suggestions on his lap, “what do you think the children of this city want?”

Five days before, that is exactly the question going through my head. There is a summer party at Brögel, I have a stand, a lot of postcards and a poster with: “My perfect summer – that’s what I want in Wuppertal.”

        Nina Bossy presented 198 children's wishes to Mayor Uwe Schneidewind in the town hall.

Nina Bossy presented 198 children’s wishes to Mayor Uwe Schneidewind in the town hall.
Photo: Wuppertaler Rundschau/Simone Bahrmann

From 12 o’clock the families press tightly across the grounds of the Junior Uni, where the spirit and world of ideas of the young people in this community have been in focus for 14 years. Small children, students, teenagers stay with me. All from Wuppertal, without voting rights. Today I will make you ripe for a day.

“I really want a duck,” says the six-year-old, pushing up his glasses. A duck from the mayor? “Exactly, a real duck,” the boy clarifies, writing down his wish in neat block letters and pinning it to my big board. I think it’s fantastic.

A duck, a few merry-go-rounds, but above all a lot of tangible, visionary and touching things, children write on the postcards for the next four hours.

    WR Junior Uni summer party

WR Junior Uni summer party
Photo: Wuppertaler Rundschau/Nina Bossy

Her biggest problem: the lack of cleanliness in the city. Less tips, shards – 31 postcards about too much dirt in the city. And please: more flowers, more trees, more green! 24 of the respondents would invest their free will for more environmental protection. Seven children want peace. Eight respondents finally ended this pandemic.

Can you be more specific? And where. A public drinking fountain is recorded three times. In the large traffic area, the children take good note of streets and corners where there is no crossing or where people drive too fast. Speaking of which: “Why can’t speed cameras flash people who just throw their butts on the pavement,” asks a seven-year-old. I promise to pass on your suggestion.

What Wuppertal lacks when it comes to playgrounds is also concrete: Namely, a real water playground. 23 children and young people alone want a place where the water splashes to play – like in Monheim am Rhein or in Herminghauspark in the neighboring town of Velbert.

When presented with the postcard, the mayor guessed that playgrounds were the top topic of inquiry. The father of three marvels at how varied and witty the collection of wishes is. He takes notes, listens, promises to follow up.

“Can he?” asks a girl at the summer party as she inspects all the postcards on the large bulletin board. “Make all our wishes come true? No, he can’t,” I reply. “But that your ideas don’t disappear, but are noticed and taken into account in future decisions, that’s a very important first step.”

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