Close to people | Stories from Bethel

For Ahmed Khemiri, the whole year is Christmas

Safe, confident and wearing the necessary protective clothing, Ahmed Khemiri stands at the sanding machine. He routinely turns the triangle of the future wooden tree until each side is sanded smooth. Advent is just around the corner - and that means that the main work in the wood workshop at the Wilhelmstraße day centre in Hamm is already done. Because Christmas is the whole year for Ahmed Khemiri. "If I wasn't into Christmas, I'd be in the wrong place here in the wood workshop," says the 48-year-old with a laugh.

Work on various wooden products such as Christmas trees, Advent calendars, moulds for tea lights and Advent wreaths begins as early as February in the multi-purpose room of Bethel.regional's day care services in Hamm. The finished products, made with love by Ahmed Khemiri and the other participants, are sold at the city's Christmas market. Sometimes in the shape of a classic triangle, sometimes with an extravagant tip. Ahmed Khemiri is able to fulfil even the most unusual customer requests thanks to the generous workshop equipment with milling machine, screw clamps, sanding machine, brushes, paint and glue.

"When I realise how popular my own creations are with visitors to the Christmas market, it makes me proud."
Ahmed Khemiri

"When I realise how popular my own creations are with visitors to the Christmas market, it makes me proud," says Ahmed Khemiri. The 48-year-old, who came to the Bethel.regional centre with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and an addiction, rarely had this feeling before. After working briefly as a warehouse clerk in the primary labour market, he found himself in the rough and tumble of homelessness. The scar from a stab wound to his stomach reminds him of this difficult time for the rest of his life. "Then, fortunately, I was offered a place to live by Bethel 14 years ago," says Ahmed Khemiri.

Thanks to his positive development, Ahmed Khemiri has been offered a job at Lebenshilfe at the beginning of next year. His favourite would be a job in housekeeping: "Organising and responding to guests' requests - that would be something for me," says the Munich-born man, before adding self-deprecatingly: "If they're even looking for a big, beefy guy like me. The fact that "Akki", as he is called by the other participants, is a strong communicator and likes to organise things is also clear from his voluntary work. As a member of the home's advisory board, he listens to the residents' questions and wishes and liaises between them and the home management when planning activities and offers.

Text: Simon Steinberg | Photos: Matthias Cremer

This story simply told

Ahmed Khemiri found help at Bethel.regional when he was homeless. He now works in the wood workshop of the day care centre in Hamm. From February, he starts working on Christmas trees and Advent wreaths. The creations are sold at the Christmas market. That makes Ahmed Khemiri proud.

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Day centre Wilhelmstraße Hamm
Wilhelmstraße 131a
59067 Hamm

02381 3056819

To the website of the centre



Offers & services

The services are aimed at adults with a chronic mental illness as well as people with a dual diagnosis (addiction), where the mental illness is in the foreground.

There is close cooperation in the socio-spatial environment with the neighbourhood, church communities, authorities, companies, advice centres and therapy facilities, clinics, universities and doctors.

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