DASEINSFREUNDE

My name is Linda and I am a 25-year-old student of Non-Profit Management at HWR and HTW Berlin. As I was thinking of how to organize my time this summer semester 2016, aside from uni and work, it was clear to me that I finally wanted to properly get engaged in volunteer work, especially for the cause of newly arrived refugees in Berlin. Engaging properly to me means to do more than working in the kitchen of a NUK, since the management aspect of voluntary work and charitable work in general is not only what I study, but also my personal interest. Early spring I was approached by a friend who lives in Berlin but just arrived from Syria two years ago. He proposed his idea of setting up a small organization, in the German legal form of a Verein, to help with integration and community building on the ground in Berlin.

His idea sounded exactly like something that I would want to be a part of. The essential vision is to enhance newly-arrived people with the instruments to enable them to have equal opportunities as Germans or migrants who are a bit freer from the restrictive and tedious bureaucratic asylum system. These instruments are imagined to be language skills, a local network and a social circle of Germans residents of Berlin. In order to connect all of these, we want to find volunteers who speak German fluently and pair them with refugees in order to help them practise their German on top of the classes that they are visiting, all of this should be done in a community-building frame, focusing on social activities and shared interests.

In this first phase of drafting I pitched many ideas and we added them to what Nebras and the friends he already had on board had in mind. Thus we got to work pretty soon. Both of us advertised the idea among our friends and we found the necessary seven people to register the Verein. From then on we divided our tasks and I was in charge of finding and coordinating volunteers and their work. This means mainly receiving and analyzing applications of both volunteers and refugees and interviewing as well as briefing them. One of my biggest concerns was that we would not find enough people who want to volunteer and it turned out to be semi-valid. I got this idea from the general decline of enthusiasm among people who were posting “refugees welcome” on facebook half a year ago. Indeed the numbers of refugees applying would exceed the number of volunteers, but all of the Verein members could win enough people to be buddies for five refugees, and this number, although small, seems to be a good start for a project in baby shoes that still needs a lot of controlling and evaluation.

One of the biggest aspects of the work that we will be doing is that it contributes to people actually feeling welcomed here. In my opinion, it often only needs a human connection and a smile to make somebody feel welcome. Making these connections possible beyond desks in BAMF offices or kitchen counters in NUKs is the essence of what I think can be done on integration. Social and cultural integration is the key, in my opinion, and cannot be achieved in any integration course with the teacher as the only local person. From our part, we will try to match people with locals according to their field of work, education or just their interests and hobbies in order to get them engaged in common activities or just talks beyond small talk.

Another aspect was how to differentiate our concept from others, which is necessary from a management perspective. However, aside from the competition over volunteers, there might not be an urgent need to market our concept with a unique selling proposition: There is never enough opportunities and frameworks to bring human beings together, as we still live in a society where it is considered weird when a stranger just approaches you in the street and starts talking to you in order to get to know you and connect. From what I can tell so far, the refugees who made the effort or were lucky to meet with and make new friends here feel very welcome. On the other hand, there is also clearly many people who feel most comfortable among themselves, the group that they came with from home, and do not need the feeling of “personal” welcoming but rather the general idea of nobody bothering them being here. One idea for structural improvement of the new start initiated for refugees here would be providing them with the tools to find communities on their own. This could be as practical as a list of Vereine that they can get engaged in, be it neighborhood meet-ups or sports or musical clubs close to the place they are staying.

One of the essential things in the work with refugees is to actually see and treat them not as refugees, as people who need your help, but simply as humans. This was clear to me before but is now more evident than ever. Especially in the field of where we are active, social and cultural integration, it is essential to put first the individual will and self-determination. Integration cannot be anything that is forced. As much as people living in Germany for years cherish the freedom here and their individual choice of how to spend their time, as much refugees do the same. Integration should not be seen as one newly-arrived group assimilating to the existing one but rather two or more groups making an effort to become a new and distinctive community.

In the past few months of getting started with the Verein I learned a lot about myself, too, especially by meeting many new people. Why I started it is mostly my idea that this “refugee crisis” is rather an interesting mission for all of us, locals and newly-arrived locals, the whole German society. And I think because we are dealing with humans and not numbers, the ideal way to turn this challenge into a success story is to start connecting at eye level.

Linda Mattes, July 2016

NUK Flughafen Tempelhof

Sidar Gumus
Service Learning
July 29, 2016

Volunteering: expectations, experience, evaluation

Who am I and why do I volunteer?

My name is Sidar, a student at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, originally from Bulgaria. My name as well as half of me is Kurdish. My father comes from the Kurdish populated part of Turkey but because of his activities for the rights of his people he had to flee. He arrived in Europe as a refugee in the time of the Cold war, he met my mother and consequently stayed and settled down in Bulgaria. Although his story is different from the ones of the current refugees, I feel connected with them, I feel that someone has helped my father and thus helped me. Therefore, I want to assist the newcomers, to let them have the chances someone took from them at home. Furthermore, as many of the refugees are Kurdish, I see it as an opportunity to learn more for the culture of my father, to listen to the language and to get to know them.

What did I expect and what were my responsibilities?

At the time of the biggest refugee crisis I was away from Europe and I could only see it as a distant phenomenon. However, when I came back quite a lot felt different. Back home in Bulgaria people looked scared, unsure of their future and bothered by the refugees. The media was spreading so much negative information it was impossible for someone not to become uneasy on the topic. On top of this, everyone was telling me that it will be much worse in Germany, that Berlin is filled with islamists and homeless people. I couldn’t believe what is being said and decided to check for myself before taking anything for a fact.

Fortunately, they were wrong, the situation in Berlin had already settled down when I arrived and the locals were much more supportive than criticising in contrast with the Bulgarians. The next step was to see how all this is happening and I decided to try volunteering to achieve that. I expected the situation to be still kinda hectic, to have less people volunteering because it was already more than half a year after the peak of the crisis. I had heard and seen so much online, I expected everyone to be very frustrated, impatient and sad. However, almost all of these concerns were dismissed when I started helping at NUK Tempelhofer Ufer and later – NUK Flughafen Tempelhof. At the first place my responsibilities were to assist with the dinner preparation and serving. It was my first chance to have a look at where the refugees live, how they do that and who they are. However, my responsibilities were not many and I felt I am not really doing much. Thus I tried in NUK Flughafen Tempelhof where I was working at the Klederkammer, the place where the residents of Berlin’s biggest refugee accommodation centre could come and receive donated clothes for free. My part was to talk to the people and offer them whatever they need and was available, a position I liked much more and found myself more needed there, so I stayed at this camp for the rest of my volunteering.

What did I learn in the process?

Helping feels good and although doing it for the first time, I realised this is something that should be part of my free time in the future as well. The work with the refugees showed me that they are people just like me, families, students, kids who dream, work and strive for better life. However, some of us have the chances to live a calm, uninterrupted lives and we can at least give some of our free time for causes of social benefit. I learned that receiving a smile from a person for your work sometimes is worth more than a salary. I learnt a lot about the refugee situation in Berlin, I learned a lot about the local participation and initiatives, I learned about the preferences and interests of people of different cultures, all important lessons that I am still processing in my mind.

Welcoming aspect

I was not really there for the first few moths to see how the refugees arrived and were taken care of. Nowadays, they all seem quite well settled down but not exactly as part of the society around them but as a separated group of people that doesn’t look like in the process of integration. The fellow volunteers at the camp are the people who have made me feel that there is a bright light after all, they are all extremely nice to the people, doing always more than the required, helping in many ways and treating everyone with respect. On the other hand, outside of the camp the people are not that positive and with the current news coming from south Germany, the population might become even less welcoming towards the refugees.

The refugees I had the chance to communicate with shared that they do not really feel good here, mainly due to the conditions that were supposed to be just temporary but have not changed for the last at least half a year now. They told me the system for receiving asylum is in particular exhausting and frustrating, some waiting for 6 months without any progress and what is more annoying – without information.

My personal feeling is that the welcome culture in Germany is much better than the one in Bulgaria. However, there is, of course, room for improvement – I believe the refugees should be more actively involved in language classes and programmes to be integrated more effectively in the society they are living with.

NUK organisation

The NUKs or in other words – the emergency housing,  I had the chance toward at were quite well organised. I heard many problems that could be observed in the beginning of the refugee crisis were overcome continuously and by the time I joined there were no more visible serious shortcomings. I couldn’t get into details of how everything gets done and who does it but from the surface I could say that the places are organised in a manner that keeps everything in order and functioning but without making the residents feel in prison. There is a lot of security but it is not intrusive, there are many workers but they feel as part of the NUK itself and not just some daytime visitors. The place I was helping at – the Kleiderkammer, had introduced a voucher system, corresponding to the ID cards given to the residents at the camp, all helping for the identification, efficient working and limiting the givings of some of the stuff there is just in limited numbers. For this there is a computer, barcodes, scanner and software keeping track of who takes what, when and thus creating some statistics.

What I felt was not certain enough at the Kleiderkammer was the volunteer participation. There were always people, something I found surprising but at the same time, it was never sure how many people will come to help and there were always many refugees to come for clothes. The organisation is working with volunteer-planner.org and this is the main way to find volunteers and to have them on a schedule.

There are weekly meetings at the NUK to discuss problems, opportunities and whatever else comes to people’s minds. Many initiatives are taking place, many independent, many from different small organisations and many from the NUK itself. However, most of these initiatives are to happen within the NUK and its residents. I would suggest more activities in the direction of integration should be though of, some mentoring, pairing or anything else that would let the refugees get out of their closed environment.

Conclusion

All in all, the experience and lessons gained volunteering are rewarding. I managed to see another world, do a bit of good and have fun. However, the last few times at the Kleiderkammer made me feel I need to move on, find something else to help with. I realised many of the people I see, come every week and not abuse but wisely use the system of giving and that they are not that much in the need of clothes as they are trying to show us. I understood for myself that this exact volunteering position has stopped making a difference in my view, that it doesn’t feel I am really contributing to the improvement of the refugee situation but on the contrary keep it as it is, at a stagnant state of waiting for something to happen, not even knowing what or from where. I am happy with my time spent at NUK Flughafen Tempelhof but I am certain I need to seek another opportunities to assist more efficiently, towards a more sustainable goal.

Volunteering at Flughafen Tempelhof

The Emergency Housing Unit at Flughafen Tempelhof is the biggest of the kind in Berlin, becoming home to over 1,300 refugees from the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The former airport has been reorganised in order to accommodate the big number of newly arriving refugees in the capital.

It is supposed to be a temporary housing for up to 6 weeks but due to the serious problems of finding more permanent housing, many of the residents of the airport have been living there for over 6 months without any idea when they will be able to move forward to a more comfortable accommodation.

First Volunteering Experience

Before getting to volunteering at Flughafen Tempelhof I tried doing that at NUK Tempelhofer Ufer, located closer to my home it looked as an interesting opportunity. First I sent them an email that never got answered but as I understood later they rarely have time for such activities. Therefore I directly took a shift through the Volunteer Planner and went there on a cloudy Monday. My responsibility was supposed to be helping the dinner preparation and distribution. However, when I went there, there were more than enough people doing it already, all residents of the NUK, which I was very happy to see. They didn’t need outer help at least for this evening. Nevertheless, I stayed and through the guidance of Julia, the social worker on duty, I did some minor things in the preparation period and afterwards distributed some of the food items.

It was interesting to see what they eat, mainly breakfast food and leftovers from lunch. Everyone was mainly interested in the salad, the flat bread, onion and bananas. The cooked potatoes and vegetables were widely ignored. It was interesting to see with how much concentration they were cooking the salad, it was the masterpiece on the table and everyone knew it. I had the chance to drink the salad juice at the end and it was amazing!

Anyway, it was an experience but I really felt not needed there. The refugees couldn’t speak neither English nor German and without previously knowing them and without enough time to get to understand each other, there was virtually no communication between us. The social worker was friendly and was also very close to the refugees after working there for 6 months. The people were from different Middle Eastern countries and spoke mainly Kurdish and Arabic. They were living in a sports hall, having some of the beds just behind the tables where they eat. There were more men than women but I later realized that many of the women are in another room and that’s why some of the women that came to take food took 5 portions at the same time. I didn’t really have the chance to walk around and see how the building is organized. In the short time I was there I saw men fighting twice, no idea what for but it all finished rather fast. Many of the refugees were also not there for the dinner. Julia told me there are more than 130 residents in the NUK but maybe less than half of them turned up for the food. There was a lot of security, they asked me for my ID on the entrance, wrote down the time of entry and gave me a badge of helper to identify who I am.

I was the only volunteer and it made me feel as an outsider, an intruder and eventually not really in the right place. Furthermore, I didn’t really help much and thus I felt there is no sense going to NUK Tempelhofer Ufer again. I had a short talk with the social worker who told me I am more than welcome to come whenever I have time and that she would give me more information on the whole situation whenever she has time. That would have been interesting but I have not gone back since the first time because I decided to try helping where I might be more needed. Therefore, the week after I shifted to the biggest NUK in Berlin – Flughafen Tempelhof.

Second Try

I had my first shift at FLughafen Tempelhof on yet another cloudy Monday. The position was at the Kleiderkammer which I was not quite sure what it means but was soon to understand. The building of the airport is notorious with its gigantic size and structure. Of course, I went to the wrong hangar at first. There are two main parts of the whole building that are used to accommodate refugees – Hangars 1-4 and Hangars 5-7. The Kleiderkammer is located in Hangar 1 and used to be only one room full of unorganised clothes just some months ago. Nowadays it consists of two big rooms, one acting as the display part, the place where the refugees have access to and the storage room which is double as big and is where all additional clothes are kept.

On the way to the Klederkammer I had a few encounters with the security but no-one checked my documents, the magic word was “Kleiderkammer” and all doors would open without further questions. Later I realised this might be also because of the people who come everyday to donate stuff and have to be let to enter.

Anyway, I managed to find the place fairly easy and on the way got to see that there are many more volunteers or workers, involved in activities in the neighbouring hangars and the area outside. Hangar 1 looked emptier and not that busy but inside the Kleiderkammer the situation was different.

Once again, there were many security personnel on each door and they all looked quite serious but by telling that I am there to help I was free to enter anywhere. Inside of the display room or as i understood some call it – the shopping room, there were already 5 people behind the counters and a few refugees, looking for clothes. I was introduced to he shift leader who’s name was Soli and had to put a name tag on my shirt so we can communicate easily and become closer to the refugees. Soli happened to be a very friendly person and explained how everything works in English without sparing effort or time. I found this very nice because I could start afterwards working directly without having too many questions.

Everything that could be found in the two rooms were donated by individuals and organisations. Every table, shelf or pair of socks had come from good people throughout the last 6 months. There were tons of clothes, shoes, bags, accessories etc. but none of it was enough. The Kleiderkammer’s idea was to cover the needs of the residents of NUK Flughafen Tempelhof of clothing and do so without funding from the government. While everything sone around the accommodation and feeding of the residents is paid by Germany, the operation of the Kleiderkammer is not. There I understood that the volunteering position I had in NUK Tempelhofer Ufer shouldn’t have been even offered because the food, its distribution and preparation are already paid by the government and contracted to some companies.

My job at the Kleiderkammer was to stay behind the counter – a raw of tables, and help the refugees find the right clothes they need. The residents didn’t have direct contact to the clothes but had to tell me or my fellow volunteers what they need and then we would bring a selection of the clothes so they can find what suits them the best. One of the reasons i heard later was the hygiene – touching and trying on clothes is one of the easiest ways of many diseases to spread around this anyway limited and closed environment. Another reason was the overloading we constantly have – there are many people who want new clothes and not always enough volunteers. Of course, we would like everyone to get what they really like, although not much is available, but we also had to do it as fast as possible so everyone could have the chance. Thus not letting the residents browse on their own saves much time reorganising the place, lets us control more or less the flow and ensures the supervision of who takes what.

Because of the big number of people who live at Flughafen Tempelhof and the limited number of stuff we have at the Kleiderkammer, some months ago a voucher system was introduced in order to track who takes what and how much. There is a computer and a scanning machine next to the entrance and every refugee has a voucher that is registered to his/her resident ID and works only together with the ID cards they receive when coming to live in the airport. They get a new voucher every two weeks and thus can get more clothes if they have already used up the ones they are allowed to get for the previous period. Some items are special and can’t be taken more than once each 3 months due to the very limited amounts available and the serious interest. Such things are the suitcases, backpacks, shoes and jackets.

It has been a lot of fun helping at the Kleiderkammer. We meet, talk to and interact with hundreds of the refugees letting us see a big sample of our new fellow Berliners and sometimes hear a bit about their life. The most exciting part of the job is to see what type of fashion interests them and what stuff has been donated by the locals. There is a visible difference between the two but with some creativity and rebranding the gap might be closing down. However, the refugees come from very different cultural and religious backgrounds and therefore have different expectations and needs of their clothing. Women are looking for more covering items, men on the other hand prefer skinny jeans and tight tops. It is not very easy to find anything fitting to their desires but with some compromise we usually find solutions.

Final moments

All in all, the experience and lessons gained volunteering are rewarding. I managed to see another world, do a bit good and have fun. However, the last few times at the Kleiderkammer made me feel I need to move on, find something else to help with. I realised many of the people I see, come every week, not abuse but wisely use the system of giving and that they are not that much in the need of clothes as they are trying to show us. I understood for myself that this exact volunteering position has stopped making a difference, that it doesn’t feel I am really contributing to the improvement of the refugee situation but on the contrary keep it as it is, at a stagnant state of waiting for something better to happen. I am happy with my time spent at NUK Flughafen Tempelhof but I am certain I need to seek another opportunities to assist more efficiently, towards a more sustainable goal.

Athens, Greece

Ich heiße Cynthia Tilden-Machleidt und bin die Dozentin dieser neuen Lehrveranstaltung an der HWR Berlin. Diese Lehrveranstaltung wird in zwei Sprachen angeboten (English-Deutsch), weil einige Teilnehmer im Erasmus-Programm als Gaststudierende in Berlin sind. Wir schreiben hier über unsere Erfahrungen mit Flüchtlingen. In meinem Bericht versuche ich die Situation in Athen zu beschreiben.

I was in Athens at our partner university AUEB from June 19-25, 2016. Just a week, but I was able to visit a number of places where refugees live and/or meet with other refugees and volunteers who care. I have uploaded a few photos and added links where you can read more about them.

The week in Athens was extremely hot, nothing unusual for this city. Many residential buildings are empty or lived in by squatters. Squatting has quite a long history in Greece and it continues.

I visited the refugee site at „City Plaza“, an abandoned hotel in a downtown area at Acharnon 78/Katrivanou Streets. See their facebook pages (thanks for this, Nikos!):

https://www.facebook.com/sol2refugeesen/?fref=ts and
https://www.facebook.com/dasbesteHotelEuropas/?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite¬if_id=1465851335354219

There I met Lina who kindly spent quite lot of time showing me around and telling me about the situation. I had a tour of the front reception area, the dining hall/restaurant area, children’s playroom, kitchen and storeroom. We sat in the wide-open bar area and talked while lots of kids played hide-and-seek in between the tables.

There are about 400 hundred people living in this previously vacated hotel, including 185 children. I don’t know the exact capacity of the Plaza, but Lina told me they have to turn many people away and prioritize who they think are the most in need, e.g. families with small children, single parents with children, the handicapped, etc. Refugees find out where they can go by word-of-mouth and their smart phones.

According to Lina, there are about 100 volunteers who come by and help every week. This is not a constant number and many are students and young people who come when they can, but have committments to school and work which prevents them from helping in the longer-term.

One major challenge seems to be the fact that refugee children are not in school. The present government apparently announced some time ago that schools would be opened to them in the fall, but someone told me that they more recently announced that it won’t happen for yet another year. This is a grave situation in this respect.

Midweek I met a couple of volunteers at the Social Meeting Place where they meet to talk and hang out with each other. They offer language classes most evenings (Greek, English, German, Italian and Spanish!). Every weekend they cook and eat together, play games, etc. I met Michael (see photo) who told me they started this center a full 10 years ago and their effort continues!

I saw many homeless people in Athens and in this report I have not mentioned the political aspects of squatting in Greece, or the politics involved concerning refugees. That needs to be addressed.

cynthia tilden-machleidt

Integrationsbund Mitte e.V.

Anne - Lübecker Str

Anne Kretschmer                                                                                     Deutschunterricht für Flüchtling                                                                       29.07.2016

April

Ich habe schon länger darüber nachgedacht mit Flüchtlingen zu arbeiten. Allerdings ist es sehr schwer Kontakt zu Ehrenamtlichen zu bekommen und den richtigen Einsatzort für sich zu finden, weil es momentan einfach so viel zu tun gibt. Als ich dann aber über Frau Tilden-Machleidt erfahren hab, dass Herr Hirsch-Landau sich in Moabit, nahe meiner Wohnung, engagiert und den Kontakt vermitteln könnte, habe ich mich direkt bei ihm gemeldet und wir telefonierten. Er hatte mir vorher bereits mitgeteilt, wo denn Hilfe benötigt wird und ich habe mich daraufhin entschieden Deutsch zu unterrichten. Herr Hirsch-Landau vermittelte zwischen der Organisatorin des Deutschkurses und mir und so kam die Zusammenarbeit mit dem Integrationsbund Mitte e.V. zu Stande.

Mai

Nachdem ich telefonisch mit der Organisatorin ausgemacht hatte, wann ich das erste Mal zum schnuppern vorbei kommen möchte, war es dann Anfang Mai soweit. Da ich meiner Mitbewohnerin davon erzählt hatte, entschied sie sich spontan mit zu kommen und auch Deutsch zu unterrichten. Liegt vielleicht Nahe, wenn man Deutsch auf Lehramt studiert. Als wir dann auf dem Weg zum ersten Unterricht waren, war ich schon ziemlich gespannt, wie es denn sein wird. Aber das wir zu zweit waren, hat es einfacher gemacht. Ich hatte mir vorgestellt, dass dieser Unterricht ähnlich wie in der Schule wird: eine Tafel an der Wand und dann Tischreihen davor und Flüchtlinge als Schüler, die fleißig dahinter lernen. Natürlich war alles anders. Eine Tafel gab es, Tische und Flüchtlinge auch, mehr stimmte aber auch nicht mit meiner Vorstellung überein. Beim ersten Treffen erklärte uns die Organisatorin, wie der Unterricht im Groben aussieht und was es zu beachten gibt. Gut zu wissen war, dass man eine hohes Frustrationslevel besitzen muss, da die Flüchtlinge teilweise unregelmäßig kommen, die Verständigung auch manchmal schwierig sein kann und man verstehen muss, in welcher Lage sich die Flüchtlinge befinden. Das klang alles soweit so gut, dann trafen die ersten Flüchtlinge ein und wir hatten erstmal keine Vorstellung, wie wir sie jetzt am besten unterrichten können und was sie bereits wissen oder eben auch nicht. Es war also schon irgendwie zum Großteil learning by doing. Gelernt, beziehungsweise unterrichtet wird entweder in kleineren Gruppen von bis zu drei Leuten oder nur ein Schüler und ein Lehrer. Abhängig ist das von der Anzahl der Flüchtlinge, die in den Kurs kommen. Am Ende des Unterrichts war für meine Mitbewohnerin und mich klar, dass wir ab jetzt jede Woche unterrichten wollen und so war seit dem jeder Dienstag von 11.00 Uhr bis 13.00 Uhr und jeder Donnerstag von 14.00 Uhr bis 16.00 Uhr verplant.

Juni

Nach einer Einfindungsphase fiel uns das Unterrichten immer leichter.  Aber wir mussten auch feststellen, dass es schwierig war kontinuierlich mit den selben Flüchtlingen zu lernen, weil sie schlichtweg unregelmäßig da waren. Aber Spaß hat es die ganze Zeit gemacht und man ist in direktem Kontakt mit den Menschen. Man erfährt ihre Geschichten und kann sich nicht vorstellen, weshalb man sie aus irgendeinem Grund abschieben könnte. Man baut innerhalb kurzer Zeit doch schon eine Bindung zu den Flüchtlingen auf. So hat sich dann auch ergeben, dass ich meine Themenfeldarbeit zur Arbeitsmarktintegration syrischer Flüchtlinge in Deutschland geschrieben habe. Und durch den Deutschkurs, habe ich Syrer kennengelernt, mit denen ich Interviews dafür führen konnte.

Juli

Diese Interviews habe ich dann im Juli geführt und der durchgehende Tenor war, dass alle Befragten (nicht repräsentative Ergebnisse) in Deutschland bleiben möchten, dafür intensiv die Sprache lernen und dann arbeiten wollen. Innerhalb der letzten Monate habe ich auch gemerkt, wie sich die Flüchtlinge entwickeln. Positive Beispiele gibt es einige. Vielleicht kurz zum Abschluss etwas zu den Menschen, die ich unterrichten durfte.

M* ist 23 und Syrer, mittlerweile seit zirka sechs Monaten in Deutschland und war über die letzten Monate regelmäßig im Deutschkurs. Da er bereits Englisch spricht, war es einfacher für ihn Deutsch zu lernen, weil er das Alphabet bereits kannte und auch ansonsten sehr schnell gelernt hat. Seit zwei Wochen ist er jetzt in einem Integrationskurs und lernt fleißig weiter.

A* ist Afghane und seit über einem Jahr in Deutschland. Da A minderjährig ist oder es zumindest so angegeben hat bei der Einreise, weil er sein Geburtsdatum nicht kennt, geht er seit einigen Monaten zur Schule und kommt seit fast einem Jahr mal mehr mal weniger regelmäßig in den Deutschkurs. A musste das komplette Alphabet inklusive des Schreibens lernen. Schwieriger wird das Ganze noch dadurch, dass er seine Muttersprache nicht lesen kann, womit die Verständigung meist mit Händen, Füßen und Bildern funktionieren muss. Aber auch das bekommen wir mittlerweile gut hin und er kann Deutsch lesen, schreiben und einige Sachen auch verstehen.

R* ist Afghanin, eine der wenigen Frauen und bringt ihre Tochter (3) meist zum Unterricht mit. Sie ist erst seit kurzer Zeit im Deutschkurs und gerade noch am Anfang, ist aber voll motiviert und lernt fleißig. Sie lernt gerade das Alphabet und somit auch das Schreiben.

Die drei habe ich in den letzten Monaten am meisten betreut. Ich habe noch viele andere Geflüchtete kennengelernt und deren Geschichten gehört. Trotz allem sind diese Menschen immer noch unheimlich freundlich, fröhlich und motiviert sich ihr Leben in Deutschland aufzubauen. Weil mir die Arbeit so viel Spaß macht, werde ich auch weiterhin in der Perlebegerstraße in Berlin – Moabit unterrichten.

*Namen gekürzt, um Privatsphäre zu schützen

NUK Rathaus Wilmersdorf

Hi, my name is Elisa Mozena, I am Brazilian and have been living in the Netherlands for the past 7 years. My connection with volunteer work goes back to the time I was still living in Brazil and wanted to make a difference in my hometown. Since then I have carried this will of helping other people with me.

The first opportunity I had to support refugees was in the Netherlands, when I collected clothes for the winter and right after that I moved to Berlin, where I was presented to the Social Learning program.

After working at Tempelhofer Ufer and not knowing how to deal with the attention some Arabic men give to women, I was recommended to go to Willemsdorf. I then enrolled myself to help at the Women’s Room (Frauenzimmer).

At first I did not get my function there, since I had the feeling I was not doing anything. However, other volunteers explained to me that, the room needs at least 2 volunteers to be opened, due to insurance reasons. Also, because many times the room is closed, the women living in the center do not show up anymore, thinking the room is closed anyway and it is not worth trying to go there.

I then started to realize that, these women do not have any moment of privacy and the room offers them a bit of tranquility, away from their man and children. I t was heart warming to see that I could be of use in such a fragile situation like theirs. It is a place where they can take their head scarfs out, do their homework, and socialize.

What most caught my attention was the cultural difference between me and the women I met there, concerning the women’s role on society. For example, one of the girls I met there is only 13/14 years old, and she is already married, her husband is still in Afghanistan. She did not know where her country was located in the world map (Afghanistan), she did not know the name of their capital. Her sister, a girl from my age (27 years old), was just now learning the Romanic alphabet, while her older brother is a doctor who speaks fluently English. Throughout my visits to the women’s room I could see that the majority of those girls are faded to an early and arranged marriage, have children and take care of the house, which was a cultural shock for me.

Me and the other volunteers try to talk with them and make them understand that they do to need to depend on their man. They can learn German, and acquire at least some basic knowledge to be able to do the basic things in life.

They are the sweetest people I’ve ever met, and my heart is broken to leave them. It also makes me really sad to think that their future in Germany in unknown, since all the women I met are from Afghanistan and they are not receiving visa’s. I wish I could help them by doing more than I did in the last couple of months, but it is out of my power. All I can do for now is to invite more people to join them at the women’s room, and make sure they can always go to that place and count on us.

HWR Hero Day

heroday1

Mein Name ist Dardane Thaqi und ich war an der Hero-Day -Veranstaltung beteiligt. Im folgenden Text werde ich kurz meine Eindrücke und Erfahrungen schildern, die ich im Rahmen der Veranstaltung Hero-Day zum Thema „Flüchtlinge“ erlebt habe.

Wir haben uns gleich zu Beginn des Projekts rasch entschieden, wer welche Aufgabe übernimmt. Die Vergabe der Aufgaben ging relativ zügig vonstatten. Jedes Gruppenmitglied hat somit seine Teilaufgaben erledigt.
Meine Beteiligung an dem Projekt war:

  • bei der Aufsuche von Sponsoren für das Projekt
    • von Anfang an Sponsoringanfragen verschickt und Kontakt mit verschieden Sponsoren persönlich aufgenommen
    • viele tolle Sachspenden z.B. von Zalando, Madame Tussauds – Berlin, TK, Jam und auch eine Geldspende von der Berliner Sparkasse erhalten
  • Dekoration
    • Finanzierung von Deko (Luftballons und auch in Form von Drücken) gefunden: In diesem Sinne habe ich entsprechend unseren Möglichkeiten, Plakate und Schriften für unsere Deko gedruckt. Durch den Kontakt mit „TK“, den ich geknüpft habe, haben wir einen neuen „Werbe“– Partner bekommen, bei dem wir unsere Einblicke/Fotos in einer Art Fotobuch der Veranstaltung ausdrucken können
  • Herzhaftes Essen
    • In Bezug auf unserem Thema „Flüchtlinge“, habe ich aus der albanischenKüche Pite gemacht
      • Pite-Füllung: Fleisch und Spinat

 

Die Arbeit zusammen mit dem Hero-Day Team hat mir persönlich Spaß gemacht, obwohl es etwas stressig war mit den Gegebenheiten umzugehen. Im Großen und Ganzen kann man ebenfalls am Ergebnis der Teamarbeit sehen, dass wir uns sehr viel Mühe gegeben haben und unsere Arbeiten gewissenhaft erledigt haben. Mir persönlich hat unsere Veranstaltung sehr gut gefallen und dem Publikum auch, z.B. die Vizepräsidentin Frau Prof. Dr. Susanne Meyer war sehr begeistert von unserer Veranstaltung und gab uns sehr sehr positives Feedback.  Die Podiumsdiskussion war natürlich einer der Highlights. Wir hatten eine wunderschöne Veranstaltung, zu dem wir mit leckerem Essen und umsichtigem Service beigetragen haben. Die Veranstaltung ist uns also sehr gelungen.

Allgemeine Infos zum Hero-Day:

Der Hero-Day findet jährlich (jeweils unter einem anderen Motto) an der HWR statt und soll Studierende, Schüler und auch alle sonstigen interessierten Personen aus Berlin zu dem jeweiligen Thema informieren und die Möglichkeit für Fragen und Diskussionen bieten.

Die Veranstaltung fand am 29.04.2016 statt in der Zeit von 10.00-16.00 Uhr an der HWR-Berlin-Lichtenberg.

Das Thema für diesen Tag war aufgrund seiner Aktualität, ‚Flüchtlinge‘. Wir wollten dort „Brücken bauen“ und Aufklärungsarbeit leisten, sowie zu Gesprächsrunden einladen.

Neben einer Podiumsdiskussion zum Thema „Registriert gleich integriert? Hauptstadtlabor Berlin“, haben wir eine Plattform, sich umfassend über das Thema zu informieren, angeboten.

Podiumsteilnehmer/innen waren Studierende des Fachbereichs Öffentliche Verwaltung, der Rechts- und Politikexperte des Berliner Senats Frauke Steuber sowie Vertrerter/innen der Organisation „Moabit hilft!“.

Themen die diskutiert wurden:

► Einreise und Status

  • Peripherisierung des Flüchtlingsschutzes in der EU-Asyl- und
    Grenzpolitik
  • Flüchtlingsanerkennung, Asylberechtigung
  • Flüchtlingseigenschaft
  • EU-Flüchtlingsschutz als Aushandlungsarena
  • Familienasyl
  • Rückführung

► Asylbewerber-leistungen angesichts der aktuellen Flüchtlingsströme

► Flüchtlings-integration – mediale und gesellschaftliche Wahrnehmung
von Flüchtlingen

  • Am Beispiel des Masterplans des Berliner Senats

Auf dem Info-Markt, stellten die Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) und andere Unternehmen, der Gewerkschaftsbund ver.di sowie Hilfsorganisationen ihre Flüchtlingshilfe und Angebote zur Mitwirkung vor.

Für das leibliche Wohl war natürlich auch gesorgt. Darüber hinaus gab es Livemusik und eine Tombola mit vielen tollen Gewinnmöglichkeiten, wie der Teilnahme an einem Karatekurs, einem Fotoshooting, Kinogutscheine und vieles mehr!

Der Erlös über 700,00 EUR aus Tombola und dem Verkauf von Speisen und Getränken sowie Spenden werden an die Organisation Moabit hilft e.V. gestiftet.

moabit

essen podiumdiskussion

Dardane Thaqi