№ 107/2010 from Apr 23, 2010
Boxgirls, a project initiated by Heather Cameron, junior professor of inclusive education at Freie Universität, was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the “start social” national competition on Friday. Boxgirls was chosen to perform at the award show attended by Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, patron of “start social.” The group gave a special presentation of their club work in a show at the Federal Chancellery attended by representatives from government, business, and social associations. The award is endowed with 5,000 euros.
“We are very proud of winning in such a competition with such amazing, dedicated competitors. This is an honor and a great day for our project!” said Heather Cameron. In addition to her teaching and research work at Freie Universität, Cameron founded the Boxgirls project five years ago in the Berlin district Kreuzberg. Besides improving the girls’ physical and mental fitness, the association uses boxing training to pursue a higher goal. “We want to encourage girls and women to stand up for more social participation and rights of women and to take responsibility for social change,” stated the group’s founder. With over 100 members in Berlin, Boxgirls is the biggest boxing club for girls and women in Europe. Boxgirls with its “Sicher im Kiez” and “Urban Hero” programs brings programs on improved safety and inclusion to over 200 pupils in Berlin’s most challenged schools a year. Since 2007 the association also has projects in Nairobi (Kenya) and since 2009 in Cape Town (South Africa).
The British-Canadian scholar is committed to practical teaching that links sport, integration, and equality of the sexes. Students of the Department of Education and Psychology are involved in projects such as Boxgirls and learn hands-on how gender-specific youth work can function. Heather Cameron’s international research on social innovation and social entrepreneurship has attracted funding from the European Social Fund and the Jacobs Foundation among others. She was selected by the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers as University Teacher of the Year 2009. She is actively involved in the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) in its Council for More Immigrant Women in Sports.
The “start social” association provides economic expertise for social initiatives that make an important contribution to civil society. Over 400 initiatives had applied in the competition organized for the seventh time in 2009. Of the 25 nominees from seven different states, seven were chosen for awards in the Federal Chancellery.