The Mother Center movement is an amazing story of how research can spark off a self-help movement. It all began with a research project commissioned in 1976 by the Department for Family Policies of the German Federal Government, which funds an institute in Munich to carry out research on youth, children, gender issues and the family. The research project was to address the issue, why parent education programs were only reaching a small segment of the population: middle class, education oriented families. (more…)
Some of the major challenges of contemporary societies include an increasingly individualized and aging society as well as increasingly multicultural populations. While family, kin and neighborhood networks are thinning out, the question of social cohesion and social values needs to be re-framed under contemporary conditions. How to live together in social peace and harmony, how to generate social care and responsibility and how to rebuild the social fabric in diverse, conflict-torn and pluralistic societies are issues underlying many of the current concerns around the isolation, alienation and anonymity of communities, the increase of violence, the re-emergence of fundamentalism, the non-engagement of youth and the lack of a pro-active civil society. How to connect with, communicate and understand each other in an increasingly fragmented and polarized society seems to be on everyone’s mind, while nobody seems to know how to really do it.
Mother Centers approach these issues by starting with women and children and by organizing on a community level. The mine network supports the linking of the Mother Center experiences from local to global as well as from global to local in an effort to bridge grassroots and mainstream cultures in the process of creating social peace, bottom up participation and sustainable communities.