Annette Habert

Ashoka Fellow
Germany,
Fellow Since 2014
Flechtwerk 2+1

Citation

This profile was prepared when Annette Habert was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
“Whenever winter comes, my father cannot come see me anymore, as it is too cold to sleep in the car. Can’t you do something to allow him to come in winters, too?” Distance between families, where parents live separated and a long distance apart, is not only a logistical challenge, as Annette Habert soon realized after one of her pupils approached her asking for support. Long distance (>100km), especially in combinations with parents’ low incomes and children too young to travel by themselves are factors raising the barrier to maintaining regular relationships. There are severe effects: scientific research shows that without sustainable relationships with both parents, educational performance of children suffers, their self-esteem is harmed and their ability to build healthy social relationships themselves is severely affected – especially the latter leads to a vicious cycle which is to be overcome.

Annette realized that she needed to reach and empower her target group – visiting parents – through supporting them in fulfilling their role as a parent while living far away. Through building a nationwide network of voluntary hosts and usable playrooms she enables regular, stress-free visits and the experience of being embedded in a community with her model Flechtwerk 2+1. She uses this foundation to build a support system which includes professional counseling as well as peer coaching among visiting parents (mostly fathers) – opening the room to reinstall trust in relationships and a constructive view towards future developments. What is more, Annette directly works to change institutional practices in the court and the social welfare system around children with parents living separated in two homes, in the process working to change society’s perception towards them and their separated parents.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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