Portrait of the month: Elli, manager of Emmaus Krefeld (Oct. 2022)

During the Saarbrücken Fair, organised on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the community of Forbach, we had the opportunity to talk for a few minutes with Elli Kreul. A month earlier, we had been to the Salon organised for the 30th anniversary of her community, but we had not had time to talk…

Hello Elli, tell us, after 30 years of Emmaus, what does solidarity and social and economic activity mean to you?

After 30 years of Emmaus, the values of the movement are still as important as ever, that hasn’t changed. What has changed are the experiences we have had, so we act differently in relation to the project, we want it to stand up economically. From this point of view, the crisis period obviously influences the work. The people who come to the sales room are more in need than before, they are more hesitant to spend.

At the same time, sales are down, but the need for solidarity is up. It is more important than ever, in a crisis situation, to support those in other countries, especially those in war situations and those who support them nearby.

Emmaus always has to do, whether there is less crisis or more crisis, for people in need it is always hard.

Is the war situation a danger for Emmaus from an economic point of view? Does it change the solidarity shown by the clients?

In Krefeld, you can feel it right away. People buy less, they don’t need furniture, the things we sell are not always for everyday use, so they come less. We usually do a lot of complete removals on a service basis. In the last few weeks, it’s been very quiet, and since we’re banking on this money, we’re missing out. So it’s complicated, especially as Germany has increased the minimum wage (so also for the journeymen), and we were counting on this income to be able to hold on and it’s annoying, when in a crisis situation people give us less work to do and buy less, but we still have to cope. We were very lucky during Covid to have a lot of donations, so we can hold on for a while thanks to these reserves.

A word for Romania, for the three groups: Târgu Jiu, Satu Mare and Iași?

First of all, I say hats off to you for the work you are doing towards Ukraine, it is awesome, because you have your daily life, your problems, and they are not the same problems that we have, it is multiplied, so hats off to you for what you are doing! I hope you will continue. I suppose that it would be good for you to be economically autonomous, with respect to the other groups, I think that this is becoming a real issue: if you are too dependent on the transport of the western communities, that could put you in difficulty, as the price of fuel increases and you risk receiving less.

I wish you all the best for the future and that you still get the support you need.

Thanks Elli!