YES! Teams 2018

Fritz-Erler-Schule Pforzheim II (2018)

Photo: (c) ZEW / Theresa Heep

The team selected this topic

How to Combat Child Poverty and how can Children and Adolescents be Best Supported? (2018)

In Germany, many children and young people in households are living below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. This also has long-term effects. Studies have shown that success in education and other important things (such as health, life expectancy etc.) are heavily dependent on the home. At the same time, Germany has a developed welfare state and social expenditure represents an essential part of the federal budget. Most of the support for children and young people in low-income families comes in the form of cash payments, e.g. unemployment benefits II (‘Hartz IV’), housing benefit or child supplements. There are also benefits such as child allowance, which all families are entitled to regardless of income. Most services specifically aim at single parents, for example, maintenance payments. As well as these cash payments, families also receive support through benefits in kind and services offerings. This includes childcare (parental contributions are made on a sliding scale based on social status, and only cover a portion of the actual cost), free education and support as part of the education and participation package, as well as child and youth welfare services. Benefits in kind and service offerings are often justified by the fact that the support reaches the children or young people in this way. However, the education and participation package shows that parents and public administration have significantly higher expenses with this kind of support in comparison with cash payments.

The Team

Our team consists of Antonia, Isabell, Leandro, Monica and Rebecca and we are five motivated students attending the international class at Fritz-Erler-School in Pforzheim. We all have different backgrounds which inspired us to participate in the 2018 YES! competition. We decided on the topic “How to Combat Child Poverty- and how can Children and Adolescents be Best Supported?” because poverty is a really complex issue. Especially our hometown Pforzheim has a very high rate of child poverty. Due to our connection to Pforzheim we feel responsible for making a change.


My name is Antonia Becker-Cosoveanu and I am a 17-year-old student at Fritz-Erler-School, a vocational school in Pforzheim. As my father is originally from Romania, I have seen children living under unacceptable conditions. In some cases, it seems that there is no way to improve the inhumane situation of so many children living in extreme poverty. This issue has been on my mind for years and I have tried to work out realistic and practical solutions. With that said choosing this topic was the only logical consequence. I am looking forward to developing and discussing ideas with my team on how to tackle the problem.


My name is Isabell Faaß, I am 18 years old and for a long time, I have had the desire to help improve society. I think that YES! presents a golden opportunity to make the best use of my talents to create a better future. Unfortunately, I am well aware of the widening gap in income in Germany. One result of this division of society is the increasing number of children growing up in poverty. Those children have only little chance to break this vicious circle. In the future, this might lead to even greater differences in income and in social life as well. So in order to prevent further poverty, we must find ways to reduce child poverty.


My name is Leandro Cerqueira Karst and I am 18 years old. The world has a lot of problems but there are also problem solvers, activists, creative minds and many more individuals that want to make the world a better place. I want to be one of them. In several programs around the world in which I have been able to participate, I have dealt with the topic of youth participation and society. During this period of time, I have always had a thought that accompanied my work: The youth of today is the society of tomorrow. This means that at one point in our lives we will have to take responsibility. Let’s not wait – let’s take responsibility now!


My name is Monica Alessi and I am 18 years old. I participate in the Young Economic Summit because I have always had the desire to help other people. I have always tried to find opportunities to show commitment. I started to go to the German Red Cross to help people who need my help. As I want to make another valuable contribution, I chose to join YES! hoping to promote change for the people who are not as privileged as other people. My goal is to change the situation of the children who do not seem to have such a bright future.


My name is Rebecca Waschtschenko and I am 18 years old. As soon as my teacher asked me if I wanted to participate in YES!, I knew right away why. I have always wanted to help other people. I have the desire to create new solutions and work together with great and talented people. In my view solutions should not just consist of ideas and thoughts, solutions should be realistic and implementable. When I think about the opportunity we are given by YES! I am thankful and am excited about the further progress of this project. I think I will learn a lot from the Young Economic Summit and meet like-minded people.