Last night fellow columnist, Stewart Tunniclif, and I met with Mohammad Okasha who directs several refugee centers in town. We wanted to know exactly how we can help. With new refugees arriving every day, it’s easy to focus on the new and forget there are people who have been waiting months, or even years, to find out if they can stay or not. Can you imagine how difficult waiting and not being allowed to work would be? They are people from all walks of life, just like us. They have varied interests, just like us. Along with raising money or donating clothing, toiletries and bikes, what they need is to interact with us. They can go anywhere in Leipzig and there are shelters in every quarter.
First and foremost they need to be able to communicate. Mohammad is looking for DAF teachers and those studying to become DAF teachers to donate their time. In a perfect configuration, there would be classes of 15 people 3 to 4 days a week for up to 4 hours a day. 2 or 3 teachers would share one group. They are also looking for places to hold these classes. Maybe you have a conference room that’s free for most of the day – perfect place for a German class!
They still need translators: Arabic, URDU, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Russian, Albanian, Serbo-Croatian
They are also looking for one off events or clubs that meet regularly to do any activities. Sports, crafts, games….anything you enjoy doing is something a refugee would like to do.