FORR Presse
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We welcome refugees in Berlin!

During 2015, over 79,000 refugees came to Berlin and approximately 54,000 of them have settled within the city. To organise and administer this great number of people became a huge challenge for the local authorities, social institutions and, of course, for the people themselves.

A great number of volunteers and humanitarian aid organisations have come forward to assist the overburdened authorities with making the arrival process for the refugees easier for all concerned. Thousands of volunteers, organised in local initiatives (e.g. Moabit-hilft), take care of the needs and interests of the refugees and provide them with basic assistance. The situation is especially tense at the “Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales“(LaGeSo), the registration point for the asylum seekers. There, the refugees have to endure long waiting hours for appointments that might not take place and are usually postponed numerous times. Hundreds of people, among them many children, are queuing outdoors exposed to inclement weather conditions and only since December have heated tents been provided to serve as waiting areas. Within this area, the volunteers and helpers distribute water, tea, clothes and basic hygiene items. They also help in the administration process, though counselling and translation activities and their engagement is of enormous value and highly contributes to easing the organisation and management issues of the current situation.

Additionally, a large number of volunteers help and assist in the numerous emergency accommodation locations, so called “Notunterkünfte”. These locations are managed by many different institutions and host up to 1,000 refugees. The maintenance, organisation, administration, social care, support and integration measures within these accommodation units are challenging tasks.

Until recently, we visited two such accommodation units, the first one being the Notunterkunft Olsoerstraße in Berlin-Wedding under the coordination of the BTB Bildungszentrum GmbH which houses approximately 200 refugees in a converted sports hall. The second one is the Notunterkunft Traglufthalle (air-inflated tent) managed by the Berliner Stadtmission, hosting approximately 300 refugees. Following the evaluation of their needs and requirements, we provided the refugees in these two accommodation units with basic hygiene items, baby buggies and winter clothes.

So far we have distributed the following items:

  • 200 toothbrushes
  • 50 toothpastes
  • 255 deodorants
  • 10 shower gels
  • 350 shampoos
  • 30 dummies
  • 30 baby bottles
  • 30 baby crème
  • 50 shaving foam
  • 80 packs of sanitary napkins
  • 20 hand crème
  • 20 body lotion
  • 50 caps and gloves
  • 3 baby buggies

In total we have distributed around 1000 products.

As this donation was highly appreciated by the accommodation coordinators we decided to extend our distribution activities and are now waiting for a new delivery of the most needed products. This time, the supply will be three times the amount of the previous one. We plan to deliver the items to the Notunterkunft Mertensstraße (Berliner Stadtmission) in Berlin-Spandau, where there are currently 1000 refugees living and accordingly the requirements are much higher.