Lucien Minka works for a society in which everyone enjoys living and feels respected. The 33-year-old grew up in Cameroon but now lives in Oldenburg.
He spent his childhood and youth in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. “Life happens out there. And families in Cameroon are big,” explains Lucien Minka. “A meeting can quickly bring together 50 to 100 people. You have to get along with everyone one way or another. It creates a different sense of community. This leads to being open to all. You learn to understand other perspectives.
The young man also saw this opening in Germany. He came here in 2011 to study. “I was first in Bremen, but it was a bit too big for me. So after a month I went to Oldenburg. My father also studied here. I grew up hearing stories about the kale and pee. And we had acquaintances in Oldenburg.
After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in social and economic sciences, he got a job as a social worker at the city of Oldenburg in 2015. At the same time, he is doing his master’s degree in social work. He is also currently training part-time to become a child and adolescent psychotherapist.
“It was easy for me to arrive in Germany. Of course, I was sometimes homesick at first, but I learned the language quickly, I was active in the clubs and I quickly made friends,” recalls Lucien Minka.
But he also had to deal with a lot of unknown things. “I didn’t have a bank account or health insurance when I arrived in Germany. I also had to extend my visa several times at the immigration office. Some people weren’t very nice. Today, I work with some of them. We talked about my past experiences so that we now understand each other’s points of view.
Talking about issues and problems is central for the social worker “I always tell children and young people to tell me about their problems. I have to do it too. Because only if the different communities listen to each other and exchange ideas can we achieve a coexistence in which no one feels excluded.
commitment to education
The father of three children is committed to it. Professionally, he conducts hours of intensive exchanges with young people and teaches them, among other things, the value of education. In his free time, he is active in the fight against colonialism and against climate change and racism – with actions, demonstrations, interviews and daily exchanges.
Language plays a major role for him, especially when it comes to the issue of racism. “Speech in particular can hurt a lot. So you have to think about what you say,” says Lucien Minka. “Just because we’ve always used the N-word for candy doesn’t mean we have to keep saying it.”
He is involved in education and health in Cameroon with the association Becomeamical Bildungsförderung eV, which he co-founded. His wife supports him in this process. Here too, exchange is the top priority. “We want to work with local people, develop projects, implement them and learn from each other’s experiences,” explains Lucien Minka.
They have already renovated a school and hired new teachers. A foundation in Oldenburg pays school fees for the children of families who cannot pay them themselves. The association is also active in promoting training. A chicken farm is currently being set up for this purpose. A piece of land has been purchased for the planned residential group and another is sought for the health centre. Content is being produced for the digital learning platform. Teachers get involved. “These are all long-term projects, for the next 20 years”, specifies Lucien Minka. “But we are on the ball.”