From late September to early November, I would volunteer at the children’s section of a refugee home near the school. Being a passionate art student, I wanted to inspire a few children to be more creative and teach them a few art skills. I would go there once a week for 1.5 hours and had a supervisor to help that worked there. There were lots of challenges at first, for example language barriers as not all the children there spoke English. Hence, I organized a few friends of mine to come over and help translate. My project started off as mainly art based but evolved to just spending time with the children as I noticed they sometimes just wanted someone who will pay attention to them and play games with them.

Around 25 students, 2 teachers and 1 parent joined the UMUGANDA as opportunity to do NMS community service on March 11. We cleaned the halls of our buildings and tidied up the entrance area. The schoolyard was cleaned from trash – the students were amazed by the amounts of wrappers, cups and bottles that had not been thrown in the bin. Most of the students joining in are contributing their time and effort due to their community work hours for Orientation Phase’s RESPONSIBILITIES & CHALLENGES. But a couple of student also just joined in because they feel a responsibility for their school’s maintenance.

Beginning Friday, March 10th, Mr. Peterson will be holding SCIENCE FRIDAYS at NMS Secondary, P30. The purpose is to provide an informal atmosphere in which students are free to ask, explore and have fun in the world of science. The goal is to be more than a ‘science club’; we want this to be a welcoming setting for anyone to come by and ask questions to their heart’s content, to research and discover new knowledge, to use science in creative and nefarious (just kidding) ways and possibly cook some food (cooking is chemistry and biology!). This idea came about after hearing all the wonderful and complex questions students ask in science class, questions for which we never have enough time to answer thoroughly. So SCIENCE FRIDAY will be that, the opportunity not only to ask questions, but for students to be guided on how to find answers and to find new questions. In addition, there have been numerous requests from our students that our school have a Jugend forscht team – so SCIENCE FRIDAY will also be our starting point for that endeavor.

Class 3C finished studying light, optics and optical illusions by using acrylic paints to camouflage our hands with the fur and feather patterns of our favourite animals. It was a challenging, fun and messy afternoon!

This is Mariam. She is fourteen years old and loves to take photos with her phone. However, on the surface most people only see her as one thing: a refugee. When I met with Mariam for the first time last November, she and her family had been in Berlin for almost a year, having moved between multiple refugee shelters. They had fled the violence in Iraq, including the threat that the so-called Islamic State posed to their safety. Mariam defines herself as both a Christian and a Muslim, and uses religion to guide her through life. The first impression you get of her is one of liveliness and happiness. She is often dressed very colorfully, and as you can see from this photo of her, she is also camera shy.

Mariam lives in a refugee shelter in Kreuzberg, Berlin, together with her brother, mother and step-father. I started volunteering at the shelter in September 2016. For a long time, the volunteer work I did involved simple jobs, like serving food or taking care of children. However, in the Kreuzberg shelter, I wanted to make an impact. In collaboration with the organizers of the shelter, I initiated a photography workshop that was intended to give refugees around my age a creative voice. Luckily for me, someone took interest: Mariam. Over various occasions, she used this project to show us who she is and how she sees her new life in Berlin.

In each of the following pictures, only a selection out of all the photos she took, we glimpse into the life of someone who is not just a statistic in the media, but an individual with hope and happiness. I hope you enjoy seeing these photos as much as I enjoyed being there when they were taken.

Das UNESCO-Projekt „Inner Peace Day“ kam am 06.03.17 nach Berlin und besuchte auch uns in der Nelson-Mandela-Schule. Eine Gruppe von Freiwilligen aus ganz Europa gaben am Montag und Dienstag Workshops in sechs verschiedenen Klassen der Sekundarstufe. Dabei ging es nicht nur um den Frieden in der Welt, sondern auch um den eigenen Frieden tief in uns, der uns zu ausgeglichenen und fairen Mitmenschen einer Gesellschaft macht. Im Rahmen des Workshops gab es eine angeleitete Meditation und kleine Hilfen, mehr Ruhe in den eigenen Alltag zu bringen. Schüler/innen und Lehrkräfte waren sehr begeistert von diesem Projekt und genossen die Ruhe.

On March 8 a small group of initiators, Meret Weber (10c), Clara Schneck (IB12), Fanny Tockner (Q2) and Florentine Baumann, met to discuss the chances of an application of our school to become a BERLINER KLIMA-SCHULE. The label certifies schools that offer several activities towards sustainability and an eco-friendly school atmosphere.

Dear Nelson Mandela School Community,

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that our debating team, made up of Julia Dannemann, Mark Braasch, Alec Dent, James Keogh, Meret Weber and Yara Abdel-Ghany, has won all three debates and are the winners of this year’s Debating Matters for the second year running. The topics they debated for, or against, were:

  • “Humanity should fear advances in artificial intelligence”
  • “Technological progress will not solve society's environmental issues”
  • “Childhood vaccinations should be compulsory”
  • “We should accept the risk inherent in contact sports”

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School offices:

  • Pfalzburger Straße 23 (P23), Flex-6
  • Pfalzburger Straße 30 (P30), 7-13
  • Babelsberger Straße 24-25 (B24), Flex-10


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22.02.2018 Nelson-Mandela-Schule · Staatliche Internationale Schule Berlin | Nelson Mandela School · State International School Berlin