FuGeeLa: Refugees in Berlin #17

Demonstration in London, photo by The Weekly Bull on Flickr

Every week we hear news about the situation of refugees in Berlin. Here’s a summary of what’s been happening in the last days and how you can help. This is the English version of an article in cooperation with Mit Vergnügen, hier kannst du ihn auf Deutsch lesen.

Number of the week

4000 | RBB reports that about 4000 refugees are currently working as volunteers, receiving an expense allowance of 84 Euros a month, or 1 Euro an hour, financed by LaGeSo.

How’s the situation at the shelters & LaGeSo?

The LaGeSo, known for its many mistakes, lived up to its fame once again – their system did not recognize past Friday and Monday as public holidays and thus gave out appointments for both days, which resulted in many refugees waiting in front of closed doors.

While former Tempelhof airport was supposed to be expanded to house up to 7000 refugees, the current numbers of arrivals are very low, due to the closed borders on the Balkan route. Despite that, the senate wants to continue development, planning to use the already put up halls for sports and entertainment events for refugees. Oddly enough, one of the halls will supposedly house an indoor (!) garden, to make the concrete area more appealing, as Tagesspiegel reports. Why there’s still no possibility to access the very green Tempelhofer Feld or why one wouldn’t plan an outdoor garden, remains unanswered.

The same Tagesspiegel article reports that the modular and container homes development will only start in summer. The district of Pankow just released a statement admitting delays in the process. Which not only means that many gyms will not free up for athletes, but that many refugees have to continue living in unacceptable conditions.

What’s the government of Berlin doing?

The hall no 26 on the exhibition grounds can be used to house refugees again, after the Grüne Woche fair has ended. It’s only planned to be used as emergency shelter, in case immigration numbers are rising again.

The deal of the senate with McKinsey is fishy, to say the least. Now Tagesspiegel leaked this news: supposedly volunteer consultant Lutz Diwell wasn’t working pro bono at all, but received payment from McKinsey for his work on the integration masterplan.

The public museums are training refugees since 2015 to become guides and make Berlin’s culture available to other refugees. Many museums and galleries also offer free entrance to refugees. A list of all museums taking part can be found here. You can support the project through Betterplace.

Despite earlier rejections, Brandenburg’s minister Dietmar Woidke agreed to take in refugees from Berlin, if the city’s capacity isn’t enough, since many shelters in his county are not used to full capacity.

Any good news?

Wir freuen uns sehr auf nächste Woche. Denn wir konnten wieder gemeinsam mit tollen PartnerInnen ein großartiges…

Posted by Moabit hilft on Thursday, 17 March 2016

The agency publicgarden created a beautiful coloring book for children, with which they can discover our city – “Berlin zum Ausmalen” has letters depicting the city’s sights or a famous place. They donated 6500 books to Moabit Hilft to share it with refugee children in Berlin. A share of the sales profit will also be donated to refugee children in Berlin.

How can you help this week?

Volunteers and residents of the shelter at former Tempelhof airport are building a café to have a place for locals, residents and volunteers to meet. They’re hoping for your donations through crowdfunding.

On Saturday, April 2nd, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt is hosting taz.lab, a day of discussions and workshops around the topic of “Fremde oder Freunde? Die Lust an der Differenz“.

Schülerpaten Berlin e.V. is looking for educational mentors for migrant children and teens. Tasks include not only support of school work, but also leisure and taking care of the children. More info here.

Sadly, many real estate agents as well as lawyers exploit the inexperience of refugees and try to scam them. Berlin Hilft compiled a list of advice to warn refugees.

Get Involved

Information and links to initiatives in Berlin can be found on the websites of Flüchtlingsrat Berlin and at bürgeraktiv. Jule Müller compiled a very helpful document answering all your questions about how to help in Berlin. Until now, it’s only available in German.

This is what happened last time.

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