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AFP
August 6, 2020

Single mums feel ‘invisible’ in Germany’s coronavirus crisis

World

AFP
August 6, 2020

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: Germany’s huge coronavirus rescue packages have won praise at home and abroad. But for divorced caterer Lulu Pototschnik the financial aid remains tantalisingly out of reach -- and she’s not the only single mum slipping through the cracks.

"My daughter and I have always coped. But now it’s as if my life is getting off track. I feel more invisible by the day," Pototschnik told AFP. For over a decade, the 51-year-old has run a small business doing backstage catering at concerts and festivals.

But when the pandemic swept through Germany in March, all her bookings for the rest of the year were cancelled. Pototschnik applied for the government’s "immediate assistance" and promptly received 9,000 euros ($10,500) in her bank account.

But it’s been of little use. Under the scheme’s rules, the cash can only go towards fixed business expenses, which Pototschnik hardly has. "What good is money you’re not allowed to spend?" she asked.

With no partner to share the burden, Pototschnik has been burning through her savings to cover her monthly living costs of around 2,200 euros, including private health insurance and rent on the house she shares with her 21-year-old daughter in the western city of Essen.

In the northern town of Glueckstadt, single mum Patricia Schoenfeld is also struggling. Having just rejoined the workforce this year after separating from her husband, the 47-year-old was still on probation as a category manager in purchasing when the pandemic shut schools, keeping her seven-year-old daughter home.