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An encounter with refugees

They come form Syria. Cameroon, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Albania, and many other countries. Fleeing from war and persecution, these people live together in temporary accommodation in Jüterbog, where we visited for the first time a few weeks ago. We were greeted there by a social worker, a lady pastor & a representative of the youth office, to see round the site and get to know the refugees. Encouraged by the pastor Mrs Falk, we planned a joint building project to help give the people some diversion from their dull everyday routine, and create an inviting area to sit in front of the refugee centre. Knowing full well these people could be sent back to their country of origin at any time and without any reason, and also that they are refused the right to work in the first nine months, we wanted to start the project “Building Benches” as quickly as possible with the people we got to know there. The designs came form the refugees themselves, although we helped with implementation.

On the afternoon of the 16th of April 2015, we loaded the material for the benches (oak, angle grinder, chain saw, chisels, paint etc) into the company bus, along with our instructor Mr Titow, and set off for Jüterbog. On the way, we realised that despite our good preparation, we had forgotten something:
Although we were able to speak various languages at different levels (such as English, Russian, French and Spanish), we discovered that ultimately, we would have to make ourselves understood using wild gesticulation. Beaming faces greeted us on arrival in the centre, so we put our excitement to one side and got stuck into the manual work, full steam ahead.

Everyone was really happy! The time flew by! Sadly too quickly! New plans to meet up again were made quickly. So the next thing was the idea to keep the ball rolling and organise a football tournament.
It only took a few hours to prove once more that different languages, religions and countries are no obstruction to trust and good teamwork.
We found a way to encourage interaction and organise another meeting using social networks.

! Refugees Welcome !

Helene & Max
(Trainees in their 1st training year as woodworkers at SIK-Holz®)

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