15 DIC 2015

The refugees "administrative crisis" in Berlin: community organizer Christiane Schraml reports from waiting lines, night tents and where refugees and citizens come together

INTERVISTA | di Diego Galli - RADIO - 16:50 Durata: 18 min
Yesterday at the congress of her party Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly defended her refugees policy: "We stand by our humanitarian responsibility", she said.

"This is a historic test for Europe".

But how is Germany welcoming the refugees? Christiane Schraml, a community organizer, reports from Berlin, where around 500 refugees arrive every day and find a very poor reception system, having to stand in line up to 10 hours in the cold only to register.

Christiane is currently trying to bring together German citizens and refugees to address the problems related to the refugees crisis, which in her
word is an "administrative crisis", and now a political one.

DICO, a network of citizens platforms, is working with its citizens and refugees leaders to build trust between residents and newcomers, and ensure that city authorities address their problems.

First results are coming.

Heating tents outside LaGeSo, the unfamous State Office for Health and Social Affairs, will be open at night to shelter refugees waiting in line all night long only to register for benefits they are entitled to as asylum seekers.

"Every day an average of 500 refugees arrive in Berlin and this has been going on for months.

There are days when 700 people arrive in the middle of the night with a train from Austria.

The first step for every new arriving refugee is to register.

This will give you the right for an accomodation, some money, clothes and health care.

But the office in charge, Lageso, is only able to process 400 requests a day.

Right now there are 15.000 refugees that are not yet registered".

"We brought a delegation of 30 people to the Parliament from mosques, churches, local organizations and refugees and we demanded to speak with Muller (Berlin's Mayor) and Czaja (Berlin’s senator for health and social services) bringing the press with us.

After some discussions we got Czaja's commitment to open the heated tents at night within 3 days".

"Part of our work now is to find leaders within the refugees community.

There are really strong leaders coming to Germany that are well educated but also strong-willed people.

The people who made the journey to Germany are really focused, they can bring so much benefit to the city".

"What we do is one to ones, face to face conversations in a huge number.

The key we find is to bring different people together and let them face each other and hear their stories.

This allow people to get away from those big political quarrels and brings it down to a personal experience with people.

This is the key to build trust and to build new communities".

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