There was a good turn-out last week for the first integration event hosted by Paten für Flüchtlinge, a mentoring project for refugees in collaboration with Misch Mit!
The event was held at the Cafe in the Fabrik Osloer Strasse last Wednesday evening. The social was the first event to be held at the space, and has been set up to give people from the refugee community and locals a chance to meet, hang out and enjoy some cultural activities together.
Since it was the first time such an event was happening, everyone was invited to share their views on what the name of the event could be called, as well as contribute ideas on what activities could be done. The plan is to hold the event regularly – ideally once a week but initially maybe just once a month – so as many ideas as possible were welcomed! Some great ideas were put out there, including Kurdish dance sessions, music classes and language exchange lessons.
After the boards were filled with suggestions, guests had some time together to meet and get to know each other a bit more before it ended.
Khalid Jarjour is from Syria and is living in a hostel in Charlottenburg. He said he liked the event because it gave people from different worlds the chance to meet and integrate a bit more than usual. Khalid is a very good cook, having worked on ships before the war broke out in Syria, so is keen to come to an event where he can use his cooking skills!
Sarah Hardwig, a student of social work who was working on the night, said that she hopes more integration events like this will happen. “The most important thing is to try and change perspectives because there’s such a stigma attached to the refugee situation, triggered by the way it’s covered by the media,” she said. “The best way to do that is by meeting people who have come to the city as refugees. It’s important to make people feel welcome but it’s also important for people to see what life is like for other people living in Berlin. For example, we all struggle with finding a place to live in the city, that’s not just a problem for asylum seekers.”
Finally, Ulrike Preißer who is part of the NachbarschaftsEtage, said she was happy with how many people turned up and she, like many others who attended, is looking forward to the next one!