On July 17th, our team took part in B2Run – a corporate running event here in Munich. Our original goal was to challenge ourselves, boost team spirit and promote health initiatives. So, we ran those 6.1 kilometres, and we did it together despite the rain and thunderstorm.
In the days leading up to the run, we also thought this would be a great opportunity to support a local organisation. There are many people out there that could really benefit from more help, and this event reminded us of that.
That’s why we decided to donate €10 for every kilometre completed by each member of our team on the race. Here’s how it happened…
Matmatch & Werkstatt R18
There is a small bicycle workshop here in Munich, not far away from our office. Meet Werkstatt R18.
Why is it so special? Well, Werkstatt R18 is not a typical bicycle workshop. It’s a bicycle maintenance apprenticeship that offers occupational training to migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and disadvantaged young people and helps trainees to integrate through training. The workshop was established in 1989 and since then, it has helped hundreds of young people to recognise their potential and start a professional career in Germany.
In Werkstatt R18, trainees learn everything about bikes: how to assemble bikes from scratch, repair old bikes and how to recycle parts of the old bikes. Trainees study one day per week and the rest of the time work in the shop, selling or repairing bikes. Werkstatt R18 also offers German classes so that trainees can successfully find a full-time job after they complete the course.
We visited Werkstatt R18 and personally met Uli Krautwasser, who has been working there for almost 25 years. He told us that he saw many young people coming to the workshop, seeking advice and help. “Some of our trainees face serious problems, others simply need an education and a job. We try to help all young people and give them the best start in life.”
Why Werkstatt R18?
Firstly, we chose Werkstatt R18 because it helps young people to find a purpose and path in life. Matmatch as a company is also quite young (we’ll celebrate our first birthday in September) and our team is young too. So we all know what it’s like to face life challenges and make difficult decisions. So in our own small way, we want to help young people in our neighbourhood feel empowered to build brighter futures regardless of their background and circumstances.
Secondly, the Matmatch team is very international. We are 28 people from 18 different countries! Almost 70% of our team relocated to Germany for work and we perfectly know what it’s like to move abroad, live in a foreign country, and adapt to a new culture. Since Werkstatt R18 vocational training gives migrants and refugees much-needed skills and networking opportunities, we are happy to support their mission.
Finally, Werkstatt R18 is all about bikes and we love cycling! We want to support an organisation that promotes cycling, and healthy living. Not to mention that Werkstatt R18 is collecting old bikes, unused bikes and broken bikes and old bicycle parts for “recycle and upcycle”. Great for the environment!
This is what our CEO Melissa Albeck says: “Werkstatt R18 does great work here in the community. We were really impressed with the way they care for the wellbeing of the trainees as well as their education and the fact that the young people go on to regular jobs in other bike shops in the city after completing their training. We are very happy to support them.”
After we visited Werkstatt R18, one thing became obvious – this was just the beginning. We saw how passionate these guys are about bikes and mechanics, and we wanted to know more about them.
Uli said that the money Werkstatt R18 received from Matmatch will be very useful. It turned out that the workshop needed a bike washing station and now finally will be able to buy it. We were happy that our running efforts in the first place became a useful help later for the Werkstatt R18 and its trainees.
We are looking forward to seeing our friendship grow! Check out the Werkstatt R18 website to know more about them.
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