„Being able to swim and go to the pool or do sports is simply the most normal thing in the world. That is what people think! For me as a Muslim woman it is impossible, because I cannot go swimming in a swimming pool for religious reasons, where the men and women share the pool or do sports together. That was the statement I made about a year ago. Now I say: “Bullshit! I can also do sports and take swimming lessons and go swimming thanks to BIG. I can barely wait every week for the women’s bathing time.“

Mereyim G.



Goodbye letter from Isabel Klein

Dear “BIG Round”,

I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.

For the coming year, I wish myself just as many enthusiastic, committed and great people who have made BIG what it is today. A concept for success that will set a precedent.

I would like to take this opportunity to expressly thank every one of you for the extraordinarily good and successful cooperation. Thank you very much for everything!

Only with your help it was possible to complete this project so well.

For the future I hope that the seed that was planted will grow, take root and bear fruit.

It would be nice if we could all continue to take care of BIG a little bit, to nurture it and to take care of it. I would be very happy if you would be so positive towards the project again this year – as we have finally managed to anchor BIG in the sports office.

From the beginning of the year I will no longer actively work in the project office and will dedicate myself to the management of the Lernstube in Hertleinstraße 22. Surely there is also a lot to do there.

But I am confident that I can and will continue to maintain the project well from the outside. Because I am firmly convinced that projects like this are what people and our society need.

I would be very happy if we stay in contact in the future and I wish every single person to find satisfaction and fulfillment in the things you do.

Yours, Isabel Klein

Isabell Klein



Jury of the association health and medicine in Erlangen (Verein Gesundheit und Medizin in Erlangen)

On the occasion of the awarding of the Erlangen Medical Prize in the category Health Promotion to BIG 2009:

Those responsible – BIG was founded by the Department of Sports Science and Sport and has been coordinated by the city since 2008 – have succeeded in successfully and sustainably introducing women with a migration background and/or in difficult life situations to exercise and sport. BIG occupies a niche for a target group for whom the leisure activities on offer have been inadequate up to now, and has achieved a very high level of acceptance. In addition to the health aspect, the project also makes an important contribution to the integration of women and is invaluable.
Jury of the Prevention Prize of the International Bodenseekonferenz (Lake Constance Conference)

From the 2008 award rationale, 2nd prize for BIG:

BIG “takes into account several health-promoting aspects, in particular equal health opportunities, the correlation between poverty and health, the consideration of gender-specific aspects and cultural conditions as well as empowerment, i.e. the ability to take the initiative.
The project also has a model character for other initiatives in the field of health promotion and prevention through exemplary project management, in particular through broad networking with partner organisations from science, practice and sponsoring, and an appropriate evaluation concept. The transferability/multiplication of the project, which was already planned at the beginning, is also considered worthy of emulation”.

Klaus Probst
Head of the Citizens’ Meeting Place ‘Die Villa’, Erlangen
An important success factor is the model of cooperative planning.
Women from the target group have played a decisive role in planning and implementation from the very beginning.

Klaus Probst



“The participants are not made the object of research, their interests are the focus and determine the development process of the research project. For the city of Erlangen, for the community as a whole, the research results of BIG will be pioneering for a municipal health policy oriented towards integration and sustainability.”

Gisela Niclas

Stadträtin, Sozialreferentin a.D.



“Clearly, the BIG project created an exceptionally rich model promoting public health with an emphasis on meeting the challenges of health improvement for disadvantaged groups, and doing so with cultural sensitivity, equity, sustainability, and, perhaps most important, the empowerment of the target group.

BIG’s many innovations in structure and methodology, including criteria for measuring impact, are certainly worthy of application in Germany and the European region.”

WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development

Lowell Levin

Yale University/School of Public Health

“The issues that the project is trying to address are very important surely in Germany but also in many European countries. I propose that the project becomes one of the case studies of how the health system in cooperation with other sectors can promote health and confront issues of poverty and risks of social isolation.”

Erio Ziglio

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