In 2015, around 900,000 refugees reached the German borders. Since then, hundreds of new projects and initiatives have been created to provide those seeking refuge with new perspectives. Two years later what are the needs of refugees here in Germany? The start-uppers Maxie Lutze, Henriette Schmidt and Ferdinand Dürr found some answers during their "Love Out Loud for Refugees" talk.
"Connect, Support, Make a Change“ is the motto of the neighbourhood app "Konfetti". Through shared activities such as sports and cooking, the new app wants to bring together new and old neighbours. "We want to create an immune system against hate speech and to minimise prejudices against refugees", says Maxie Lutze. To date however, "Konfetti" is still only a prototype.
The project "WeFugees" provides similar services. Via the online portal, refugees can ask questions, find answers, as well as helping other refugees with issues. The topics have changed over the last two years says Henriette Schmidt, Co-Founder of "WeFugees". During 2015, things such as legal affairs were more common, now it is more often about issues such as tax or Kindergarten spaces. Nowadays it is important to place less emphasis on problem solving: "Today supporting self-organisation is more important", says Schmidt. "It is about letting refugees also make their own experiences.
No one is interested in what de Maizière has to say.
Very often special initiatives by the Berlin Senate have completely misread the needs of refugees, according to Henriette Schmidt. The same goes for the political debate about a German "Leitkultur - guiding culture" which is totally out of touch with reality. "Nobody cares what Interior MinisterThomas de Maizière has to say, claims Schmidt. His demands for a German "Leitkultur" and the debate surrounding this has no direct effect upon the work at "WeFugees".
According to Ferdinand Dürr from the project “Adopt a Revolution", many Syrians would disapprove of the term "Leitkultur". For the past five years he has been supporting civil society in Syria. From Germany, activists send money, as well as second-hand IT and school materials to the country. At the same time Dürr and his team want to give the Syrian civil society a voice.
Photo credit: Theresa Krinninger