I am from Syria and I have been living in a residential unit for half a year (15, girl). I am very homesick and often sad. Who can help me? I don’t want to burden anybody.

You are alone in Germany.
You have had a long path behind you.
Much of it was certainly very unpleasant and unsettling.
You have experienced a massive burden.

You are not an adult yet.
You have the right to help and support.
And: you have the right to be heard.
This means: it is important that people listen to you.
It is important that your voice is heard.
This is one of the UN Children’s Rights.
It means: the people who are taking care of you now listen to you.
They are interested in your wishes.
They help you to feel happy and safe.

If they do not do this then something is wrong.
Then you need to seek help.
Please talk to an adult who you trust.

I (15, girl) would like to go to the Oktoberfest in Munich this year. I have never been! What do I need to know?

Oktoberfest is probably the biggest fair in the world.
On some days there are 600,000 people attending.
Sometimes this can be uncomfortable.
You can find some tips here to ensure you have a good visit.

Oktoberfest can be a lot of fun.
There can also be unpleasant moments at the Oktoberfest:
If you are suddenly all alone.
If somebody has offended you.
If you have experienced violence.
These are just a few examples.

We would like to state: your feelings are ok and important!
If you need help go to the Security Point for girls and women.
There are nice ladies there to help you out with any problems.
They are there every day from 6 pm until 1 am and on Saturday from 3 pm until 1 am.
The Security Point is in the Service Centre.
The police, Red Cross and lost and found office can also be found here.
You can also ask security staff, police or service staff.
They can show you the way.

I (17, girl) drank alcohol yesterday. Then a friend touched me on my breasts, then between my legs. I did not want him to. But I couldn’t say anything as I found it hard to talk. My girlfriends say: that’s what happens when you drink alcohol. Is it my fault?

We say: absolutely not!
Nobody is themselves to blame when something like this happens.
Nobody may touch you if you do not want them to.

Sometimes there are silly moments.
Even with somebody you know!
Sometimes it was a nice night to start with.
But then something happens which you do not want to happen.
But what always matters is that your feelings are correct and important!
Even the law states:
Kissing, touching and sex with a partner who does not consent to the activity is forbidden.
Even if you couldn’t properly express yourself at that moment.
Even if you are too drunk to say no.
The other person will still see if you are really enjoying their behaviour or not.

You can always seek help.
For example, in Munich we have the IMMA advice centre: http://www.imma.de/einrichtungen/beratungsstelle/kontakt.html
Young people can find help elsewhere in Germany here: https://www.zanzu.de/de/hilfe-beratung

I was at a party recently (16, girl) and I had a ‘black out’. I have no idea what happened. But I was not drinking alcohol and I did not take any drugs. Why did this happen?

A black out is unsettling.
It means: you do not know what happened.
Even though you were not asleep.

Maybe your girlfriends know what happened to you.
Start by asking them.
Then you need to see a doctor.
They can find out if you may be ill.

It is also possible that somebody spiked your drink.
These drugs are often known as ‘roofies’.
They have no taste or smell.
They can be secretly slipped into a drink.
You may then feel powerless, helpless or as if you were paralysed.
Later, you have memory loss; a black out.

You can talk about this with your doctor.
She can also recommend someone you can talk to.
It can be scary not knowing what has happened.
Please seek help.

My sister is a total bitch (16, boy). And I tell her so. Now she has told our guardian. He finds my language ‘sexist’. He’s mad, right?

The translation of bitch is a ‘female dog on heat’.
Unfortunately, this expression is sometimes also used for girls.
People often use it to say that a girl has too many boyfriends.
Or that a girl has already had sex.
It is a very offensive word for girls.
Your guardian is right. Words like this are sexist.
There are lots of other harmful words for girls.
Boys can also be hurt by works.
For example, with words such as ‘wimp’.

It does not matter which expression is used.
If it harms the other person it is not right.
It is good to talk to people directly.
It is not good to hurt them with expressions.
So you should apologise.

If you think your sister’s behaviour is not nice then talk to her.
It is important to show respect towards each other.
This includes the language you use: it shows that you respect somebody.

I (15 years old) would like to send my boyfriend a sexy photo of myself. I am topless in the picture with no bra. My girl friends say that I should not do it. Is there a reason not to?

Lots of girls and boys would like to make their partners happy.
They would like to look sexy for them.
However, there are a few things you should be aware of.

Clearly: you should think about who you are sending this type of picture to.
It is a very private thing and shows that you have full trust in your partner.
You should also ask yourself:
Does your partner want the picture?
You may not send somebody a picture who does not want to have it.
It could be a criminal offence.

Please consider:
This is your picture; you may decide who can see it and who cannot.
After you have sent it you cannot be certain what will happen to the photo.
Think carefully: can you trust the person to whom you are sending the photo?
Nobody may send your picture to anybody else without your permission.
If somebody violates this trust then they are at fault.
If you need more help with this issue then you can make contact with somebody here:

I (14, girl) have had three periods so far. There has always been a break of about one month between them. However, I have not bled for four months now. Am I sick?

You are worried because of a long break.
That is completely understandable!
However, it does not have to mean you are sick.

Many girls have irregular periods at the start.
Sometimes the break between periods is short.
Then it may take a very long time until the next period.
It can often take some time until your period comes about once a month.
Usually the break is between 21 and 35 days.
For some girls the breaks are either always shorter or longer.

However, there could be another reason.
For example: if you are stressed.
If you have taken medicine.
Because your weight has changed dramatically.
If you have already had sex:
Then you may also be pregnant.

If you are uncertain you can see your gynaecologist.
They can examine you and answer your questions.

My uncle told me (14, boy) that I will become ill if I masturbate too often. I do it at least once a day. Is that unhealthy?

What you are doing is completely normal.
Even if you masturbate several times a day you won’t get ill.
The same applies for girls.

Young people are sometimes forbidden from masturbating.
Some people say: masturbation will make you ill or blind.
This is not true. They only say it to scare you.

During masturbation, many boys pull their penis foreskin forwards and backwards.
Or they rub the tip of their penis.
Girls can masturbate as well.
For example, by stroking the clitoris.
This is the little lump between the lips of the vulva.

You stroke yourself in this way in order to experience sexual feelings or lust.
In this way you can also experience the nicest sexual feeling, an orgasm.
Masturbation is natural human behaviour.
Regardless of whether you are young or old.

You can get to know your body really well.
You know which movements you like and which are uncomfortable.
You can also explain this to your partner later.
It certainly does not make you ill and can even relax you.

There are special rights for children here in Germany. What does that mean?

UN human rights apply almost everywhere in the world.
They state: all people are equally valuable and important.
Therefore, the state must treat all people equally.

Human rights also apply to children.
However, children need even more rights.
To achieve this there is the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
All children must be treated equally well.
All children must be protected.
All children must be encouraged.
Your opinion is important and should be heard.
These are the children’s rights.

Children’s rights apply worldwide in almost every country.
They apply to all children from birth until they are 18 years old.
Adults are responsible for giving children these rights.
Children’s rights are very important in Germany.
Girls have the same rights as boys.
All people in Germany should pay attention to children’s rights.
What rights do you have as a child or young person?
We will explain that in another article.

I am 16 and I told my friends I am gay. Now lots of boys don’t want to be my friend anymore. Some of them are really mean. What should I do?

Telling your friends about it is called ‘coming out’.
That was good and very brave!
Many young people are scared about coming out.
They are afraid they will be rejected by their parents or friends.
Unfortunately, this really is the case sometimes.
There are still judgemental people.
This is very sad for you and disappointing.
However, there are lots of open-minded people – you just have to find them.

There are lots of boys who fall in love with boys!
It is often good if you can talk to other gay boys.
You can find a youth group near you here:
You will find understanding people there.
You can find new friends there.
Because you are OK just as you are!
There may be somebody in your school who can help you.
You can also find help at an advice centre:
beratung@gladt.de: you can get advice here in the following languages: German, Arabic, Turkish, English, French and Kurdish. Further languages are available upon request!