Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe
legal form Registered association
founding November 23, 1958
Seat Marburg
purpose Self-help for people with especially intellectual disabilities and their families .
Action space Germany
Chair Ulla Schmidt
Managing directors Jeanne Nicklas-Faust
sales 8,972,387 euros (2018)
Employees 60 (2018)
Members 125,000 (2019)
Website Lebenshilfe.de

The Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe e. V. is a non-profit association founded in 1958 . It sees itself as a self-help association , parents , professional and sponsoring association for people with particular intellectual disabilities and their families . Lebenshilfe supports people with disabilities to participate equally in life in society.

Basic goals

Disabled people should be given intensive support in coping with life . Through its activities, Lebenshilfe would like to ensure that people with disabilities can live as independently and normally (in the sense of the normalization principle ) as possible through individually tailored help . To this end, it offers help and services itself and represents the interests of people with disabilities in public and on a political level. Lebenshilfe also wants to protect the human rights of disabled people in Germany. Since its inception, the Federal Association has published numerous critical statements on prenatal diagnostics , most recently especially early genetic diagnostics .


The association is based on legally independent local associations that have emerged in recent decades. The start-ups were often initiated by parents of disabled children. The founding of Lebenshilfe itself is also due to the commitment of parents of children with disabilities. The local associations are often responsible for local life support facilities, for example early intervention centers , homes, workshops and educational and recreational facilities such as Haus Hammerstein . For some years now, assisted outpatient living has often been one of the offers, and Lebenshilfe is increasingly opening up the field of opportunities to integrate people with disabilities into general social and working life.

Regional associations exist in the individual federal states as higher-level structures . The Federal Center for Life Aid is based in Marburg . Affiliated to the headquarters are, among other things, a separate publishing house ( Lebenshilfe-Verlag ) and a training institute. The Bundestag member Ulla Schmidt has held the federal chairmanship since September 2012 .


On November 23, 1958, the association in Marburg was founded by 15 specialists and parents as a way of helping the mentally disabled child. V. founded. The initiative came from the Dutch liaison officer Tom Mutters , who on behalf of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees took care of severely mentally handicapped children of displaced persons, refugee families and concentration camp survivors in the Philipps Hospital in Goddelau. Ten years later the association already had over 300 local and district associations and 38,000 members; He looked after over 18,000 people in special kindergartens, schools and workshops. From this time on, Lebenshilfe also offered places to live in residential facilities. By the time of reunification , the number of local and district associations rose to 400; In 1988 Lebenshilfe had 100,000 members.

In 1990, the GDR first established its own life support service; In 1990 it merged with the federal association. After the introduction of the new Lebenshilfe logo in 1995, the name was also changed in the following year; from then on, the association acted as the federal association for people with intellectual disabilities. V. on. In the meantime, the expression “mental handicap” has come under fire in many places, so that local associations in particular, and now also the Federal Association of Life Support, are increasingly doing without the word “mental” in their names.

In 2008 there were 527 local and district associations, the association had over 135,000 members and the 50th anniversary of Lebenshilfe Germany was celebrated with a variety of activities. Among other things, the "Chronicle of 50 Years of Lebenshilfe" was published, and in the summer, the Lebenshilfe festival Blue Wonder was celebrated in the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin , to which Angela Merkel also came. From the Deutsche Post AG one was special stamp released. In 2011, Lebenshilfe discussed a new basic program. According to its own information, the association currently has "125,000 members in over 500 local life support associations".

The federal association initiated an action under change.org to achieve better conditions for those in care within the ongoing advisory process on the law to strengthen the participation and self-determination of people with disabilities . By mid-December 2016, 71,625 supporter signatures had been obtained. Until 2017, this was the most successful action by Lebenshilfe on social networks.

publishing company

Lebenshilfe-Verlag Marburg is the German-language specialist publisher for the subjects of “people with intellectual disabilities” and “assistance for the disabled”. In addition to specialist books, the publisher publishes three journals:

  • The Lebenshilfe Zeitung (LHZ) is the association information platform of the federal association and is aimed at parents, relatives, volunteers and professionally committed people. It is enclosed with the Lebenshilfe magazine in easy language.
  • TEILHABE is a cross-association trade journal and is aimed at specialists in the field of disabled people and at those interested in higher education. Since 2009 it has been the successor to the journal Geistige Handlungs (ZGB).
  • The legal service of the Lebenshilfe is aimed at voluntary and full-time specialists in assistance for the disabled, lawyers and employees in authorities. It informs about current developments in social policy and jurisprudence that affects people with disabilities.

Football World Cup 2006

As a partner of the German Disabled Sports Association , Lebenshilfe Deutschland - represented by the state association of North Rhine-Westphalia and the federal association - was jointly responsible for planning and organizing the 2006 soccer World Cup for people with disabilities , which took place for the first time in Germany. Willi Breuer , the coach of the German national team, attributed the population's interest in the World Cup (which was overwhelming with 260,000 to 300,000 spectators in the stadiums) to the club's commitment: “The key to success was life support. We have never had so many viewers. I can judge. I was at all four world championships. "


The expression “ intellectual disability ” is increasingly being criticized as it is perceived by many people as having a vague definition and sometimes also as discriminatory. Some local associations of the Lebenshilfe have deleted the term “intellectual” from their names due to their opening up to other disabled persons; others have stayed with the old name. In an information brochure published by the Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe ( Together we get ahead - Lebenshilfe on the way to the future / December 2005) it was stated that mental disability ... may not be a word for the future and it can only be used until a better term is found Is found.

The Lebenshilfe Austria has for himself. B. decided to call itself “life support for people with disabilities” at the federal level and to completely renounce the “spiritual”. In 2005 alternatives were considered; it is to be found a new definition and a classification based on the description of cognitive skills based.


Critics complain that the dual function, on the one hand as a representative, but on the other hand as a service provider (e.g. various gGmbH ) for people with disabilities, creates or exists a conflict of interest . In its function as a lobbyist, the Lebenshilfe z. B. support the demands of employees in workshops for disabled people for higher wages, as this would make them less dependent on supplementary social assistance or maintenance payments by relatives; As the operator of such workshops, it could reject such a request for reasons of cost.

Not so long ago, Lebenshilfe (Berlin) came under fire for its personnel policy, which was documented in a collective work:

“We want to describe the disputes that triggered drastic cuts in employees' salaries at the beginning of 2003. At first the works council tried everything to fend off these wage cuts. Then the courageous action of all trade unionists in the company was called for. Because the disputes resulted in the fight for a collective agreement. It was done on April 23, 2012: Employers and trade unions signed a collective agreement during a works meeting. What seemed very harmonious for everyone involved in this event was the end of a nine-year dispute. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. full name according to federal statutes (PDF), accessed 2014
  2. https://www.lebenshilfe.de/fileadmin/Redaktion/PDF/Presse/Welt-Down-Syndromtag-Positionspapier-Bluttest-neu.pdf
  3. Ulla Schmidt takes over the federal chairmanship of Lebenshilfe ( Memento from September 24, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. 50 years of Lebenshilfe: 1950s founding phase. Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe for people with intellectual disabilities eV, 2008, accessed on November 7, 2013 .
  5. Homepage with pdf download option ( Memento from December 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  6. https://www.lebenshilfe.de/mitmachen/lösungen/ (April 11, 2019)
  7. change.org (December 17, 2016)
  8. More participation achieved! #TeilhabeStattAusnahmung - the Lebenshilfe campaign on the Federal Participation Act (BTHG) and the Care Strengthening Act, accessed on December 17, 2016
  9. ^ Trade journal Teilhabe
  10. Lebenshilfe-Verlag Marburg
  11. Lebenshilfe aktuell. No. 12, 2006, p. 4.
  12. Lebenshilfe-Zeitung. No. 12, 2005, p. 10.
  13. Karl Kamp, Klaus Schroeder and Benedikt Hopmann: We are not bargains. Employees in social services also need collective agreements . VSA, Hamburg 2013, p. 9; the review by Franz-Josef Hücker, in: Unser Jugend 9/2013, pp. 394–396.