I was there shortly before 10 am and Roswitha was the first to meet me. She is responsible for the women’s well-being, prepares coffee and hot water for tea, brings rolls, cheese and jam. In addition, she laid a few colourful paper napkins on the counter.
The next women who arrived already knew their way around and placed cups, plates and food on a table. There was a relaxed and familiar atmosphere, so that those women, who – just like me – were there for the first time, also got into conversation very quickly. And here in the women’s café things are truly intercultural: young mothers and energetic grandmothers, working women and women on parental leave, women who are involved in helping refugees, women from Poland, Afghanistan, Morocco and Germany. The women’s café is organised by Carolin Weitzel, the equal opportunities officer in Erftstadt.
At the last two meetings, she discussed the topic of personal strengths and competences with the women in order to raise awareness among them of how valuable their experiences and skills are. I added a further aspect to this topic with my mini-workshop by focusing on women’s intercultural competences. They all brought their own experiences into the discussion:
either as migrants, as supporters of refugee aid or as neighbours of refugee families. In the course of the morning, we gathered a wealth of competences that these women contribute to the development of a diverse society. The lively discussion found ‘openness’ and ‘language skills’ to be core competences for successful cooperation.
I found this morning get-together with these warm and open-minded women very enriching and I look forward to being back for one of their next meetings.
Intercultural Coaching for international professionals