The fact that St. Nicholas care exists is due to a blind boy, a dedicated pedagogue and a tsar’s daughter. But one after the other .
Under princely wing
1827 Teacher Gottlieb Friedrich Wagner offers "lessons for the blind" for the first time in Stuttgart. At first only for one student, then it becomes more and more children. 20 years later, Olga Nikolaevna, the future queen, writes Wagner a momentous letter. She wants to take his "institution for the blind" under her "special protection. Am 15. October 1856 the time has come: Olga von Wurttemberg opens the "Nikolaus-Pflege fur blinde Kinder" in Forststrabe 18, far away from the city on a garden plot. Named after its father, Tsar Nicholas I. from Russia. Gottlieb Friedrich Wagner, the dedicated educator, but soon fails in his task as head of the institution. Planning, managing, keeping the money together – it overwhelms him. Wagner is henceforth employed only as a teacher and is dismissed in 1857.
Independently into life
Christian Sackmann, who comes from the State Institute for the Blind in Gmund, should do better. In 1858, he takes over the management of "Nikolaus-Pflege" (Nicholas Care). It is particularly important for him or her to provide students with solid craft training. That’s why he sets up a basket workshop in 1860, and a printing shop for the blind in 1869. His successors, led by Theodor Decker, continue to expand the educational program. After the move to the new building at Kraherwald in 1908, the areas of brush making, chair weaving, machine knitting, housekeeping, stenotyping, and telephony are established. Demand for a place in St. Nicholas care is enormous. By 1900, the institution can only accommodate just under half of all Wurttemberg’s blind between the ages of five and 18. Finally, the new house at Kraherwald offers more space: it is designed for 80 to 100 people.
Here at Kraherwald in Stuttgart, Nikolauspflege is still at home today. But it is a location of many. A lot of progress has been made. Nikolauspflege supports and accompanies people with a visual impairment or blindness, including those with other impairments, at various locations. Technical and digital aids enrich learning and everyday life. The goal is to achieve the best possible participation of blind and visually impaired people in society – regardless of the type and severity of the disability.
Seeing the human being
We are one of the leading competence centers for blindness, visual impairment and multiple disabilities, offering a new perspective for people of all ages, from school education to vocational rehabilitation and everyday assistance.