Salem International is an international humanitarian and environmental organisation actively working for peace throughout the world. Originally founded in 1957 by Gottfried Müller and a circle of friends in Stuttgart, Germany, to provide shelter for the homeless, Salem can now be found in many different countries, on 5 continents. Salem is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose belief is based on the Bible and human rights.
- 1 History
- 2 Fields of work
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Gottfried Müller founded the Brotherhood Salem in 1957 in Stuttgart, Germany and devoted his life to people, hence fulfilling a promise he made to himself in a death cell during World War II captivity.
He started by giving away all of his money to two disabled Jewish women. Soon with the help of some friends he established a home for homeless people and ex-convicts in Stadtsteinach (?) and quickly more of these Salem homes were built in several German cities.
After several years of this social work it turned out, however, that the help for these people had mostly started off too late and that many could not permanently be rehabilitated to home life having been uprooted many times.
He found the solution during conversations with the people he has cared for. Many of them reported that they had grown up in orphanages.
Creation of children's and youth villages
He went to the core of the issue, the cause of uprooting - the children being from disadvantaged family backgrounds. Gottfried Müller said,
"We must find a way to create a better future for the 'home' children, to educate them to be members or even representatives of a valuable community."
He gathered together educationalists and co-workers to realize with him a new kind of education closer to 'families' and created the Salem children's and youth welfare organization.
In all Salem institutions children from disadvantaged family backgrounds were accommodated to give them a lasting home. Successively, the Salem children's and youth villages in Stadtsteinach/Northern Bavaria, Höchheim/Northern Bavaria and Kovahl/Northern Germany were built. The model character of these villages was the reason for building further Salem institutions in the USA, Israel, Uganda, Russia and Ecuador.
Health and the protection of nature and environment
What followed was the engagement of medical welfare work, vegetarian nutrition, holistic medicine, animal and environmental protection, organic agriculture, re-afforestation projects, and the Salem institute for the investigation of alternatives to animal experiments. Meanwhile Salem has grown into an international welfare organization offering a home for many discriminated children and juveniles.
Fields of work
Children's and youth villages
The children in these villages and homes live together in extended families, about 6 to 8 children with adults. Each family is led by a couple of parents or an experienced mother with an educational professional training. Some villages offer residential homes for elderly people, too.
In 1980, 200 children were living in the long-established villages in Germany. But Muller has said that "Salem is only the model"; he and other organizers have not been interested in increasing the number of the villages belonging to the organization, instead seeing them as models.
Public health services
In many projects the social commitment goes beyond the children's village. For example, in the Salem village in Uganda, there is a fully equipped hospital with a laboratory and an operating theatre. It provides medical care to an area of around 45,000 inhabitants. Furthermore, there is a training facility of health advisors and traditional midwives. The clinic in Togo, being supported by Salem, provides medical treatment freely or at a very low cost to approximately 42,000 people of the area.
The foundations of the education are the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from the Bible. The Christian faith is in the same way part of education as knowledge from pedagogics, psychology and sociology as well. Salem provides professional and academic apprenticeships, as well as continuing education, in different areas. For example, the apprenticeship workshop in Uganda and the school for children with behavioural disorder in New England, USA.
A healthy interaction with nature is the basis of Salem's work. The activities range from animal protection and environmental education in Germany to reafforestation programmes in Africa.
As an alternative Training Centre for ADD/ADHD Salem provides biofeedback training in the form of individual sessions and children's summer camps. It also offers practice-oriented seminars about Neurofeedback / EEG-biofeedback with internationally renowned experts and clinicians.  (Web site only in German)
Organic agriculture and gardens belong to most of the children's villages. In Germany these are farmed in accordance with the national guidelines for organic agriculture. In tropical countries other methods such as Permaculture and Agroforestry stand in the foreground. There are gardens which grow many herbs, fields to grow crops and vegetarian whole-grain diet based kitchens in these villages.
The guesthouse "Lindenhof Salem" in Stadtsteinach/ Northern Bavaria offers a vegetarian organic restaurant as well as naturopathic treatment.
- Michael Harris (April 1980). "The Salem Children's Village: A New Concept in Foster Care". p. 42 ff.