About the founder (and beyond)
My name is Frank Dahlke, I was born in 1957, my daughter Julia in 1986.
Julia was born disabled with a very rare genetic aberration. In order to be able to meet Julia's special needs, we parents had to drastically adjust our life plans. Today we are very happy that we made the right decision, because Julia has found her place in life, and her parents have also gone through life well so far.
I myself have been very lucky. Despite difficult financial circumstances, I was the first in our family to go to university and completed a degree course in psychology and the medical school.
In my career of more than 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry, I have been able to successfully contribute to the development of drugs against multiple sclerosis, a disabling neurological disease.
I have had professional and also material success and have always experienced a great deal of personal support from my family and friends. I am particularly grateful to my wife Marion Dahlke, to Cornelia Fraling, Julia's mother and her husband Reinke Duhme, and last but not least my daughter Julia.
The Dahlke Foundation, which I present to you here, is an attempt to give some of this back, beyond my/our time.
Why the Dahlke foundation?
My daughter Julia is of course the very first reason for setting up this foundation. Since her first year of life, she has received first-class support and care in anthroposophical institutions, starting at the Thomas House in Berlin, a day centre for early interventions for children with disabilities from toddler to preschool age. Later, Julia attended the Parzival School in Berlin, and lives since 2006 at the Elisabeth Vreede House in Vichel (run by the LebensGemeinschaft Rohrlack-Vichel gGmbH), together with other people with disabilities. Julia works in the workshops of the Werkstätten der LebensWerkGemeinschaft gGmbH in Rohrlack, a village close by Vichel. All the efforts and care of these facilities have had and still have a significant role in the so gratifying development Julia has taken over the years. As parents, we are also very grateful to know that Julia has found a place where she can live well and happily also without us. But even the best facilities can quickly reach their limits:
Let me tell you the following story: some time ago, one of Julia's flatmates had an accident and was hospitalized for a few weeks. When he was to be discharged from hospital, it was unclear whether he would be able to return home, because his recovery required long-term care, far longer than could be provided on site. The relatives stepped in and hired a nurse at their own expense, who took over for several weeks on site, thus enabling him to recover in his familiar surroundings. I asked myself: what would have happened otherwise?
This event touched, but above all it worried me, because one can expect similar situations to happen more often in the future. Time passes: the residents of the homes in Rohrlack and Vichel are now in their middle age, their parents and carers begin to feel the burdens of age, and also their loved ones will not be spared either. This will create new and varied challenges. And in the long run, parents and carers will not always be able to step in.
The foundation I am presenting to you here is intended to help people like Julia and her fellow residents to age with dignity. For this I need your help!