Social justice includes solidarity and help with essentials for a decent life, sufficient money through social welfare (in Germany it is € 446 per month for individuals, plus health insurance and housing in 2021). But is that enough?
Alms are far too few for me. Human beings do not live on money alone. They need confirmation, self-realisation, inner peace, personal happiness. In this realm, the needy are left largely alone. So far there is no convincing concept how to make the needy happier. This should become a central task of new Social Policy 4.0 with a big heart. It goes without saying that everyone is the architect of their own happiness. But let us be honest: Has no one ever helped us in the valley of tears? Fate is often unfair.
How can we make the needy happy?
When we sit in poor areas we see poor people, most of them seem tired and dull, frustrated and impoverished. No smiles, little joy of life. Unhappy. Although they receive welfare payments and free social housing. Is that social? The traditional social policy is not enough, alms don’t really make you happy. But that is exactly what a welfare state is supposed to do.
What can be done?
We need to rethink creatively, with more heart-felt humanity. Help the heart and soul of the poor.
For example, we could assign a personal mentor to each person in need. As a coach, he or she could help them to lead a more meaningful, self-confident and thus happier life as ‚Happiness mentors‘.
To this end, we should involve the appropriate pensioners in the neighbourhood. For example, they could look after 15 people. We pay them a tax-free amount of € 1500 per month, i.e. € 100 per person. Every social case solved saves the state more. This is the only way we can avoid the dangerous cycle of constantly new social cases in disrupted families.
These mentors offer long-standing personal contacts for all problems. Not just ten minutes provided by the personnel of social authorities.
They focus not on monitoring and pressuring their clients, but instead on promoting their self-confidence, dignity and joy of life. With an elaborated happiness plan for five years. As in a well-run company, there are coaches, seminars, meetings, motivational units. They form small self-help groups and have time for discussions. The mentors arrange memberships in clubs, participation in sports events or courses at adult education centres.
The happiness mentors help coping with life, not just bare survival. They offer overall perspectives for a better and selfdetermined life, in cooperation with the employment agency, entrepreneurs, social workers, the municipality, churches and private associations. They make those in need “fit for life”, more self-confident, more responsible and happier. That would be a good, modern social policy.
Every needy person is assigned ‚Happiness Mentors‘ helping them to lead a self-realised and happier life in the long term.