#FARBENBEKENNEN HOW REFUGEES SHOW THEIR TRUE COLORS FOR THEIR NEW HOME.
#FARBENBEKENNEN Showing one’s true colors – the wish of many people who had to leave their homeland because of war, terror, and displacement and who have found a new future in Berlin. They’d like to show their true colors #FARBENBEKENNEN for the country that gave them refuge, for the city of Berlin, which became their home, and for the German society, of which they feel a part today. The majority of those who arrived here as refugees now want to actively contribute to and get involved in this society. A few will now introduce you to their story and commitment.
SAWSAN CHEBLI, PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THE STATE OF BERLIN WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND STATE SECRETARY FOR CITIZENSHIP AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS.
THE CAMPAIGN SHOWS HOW
MUCH REFUGEES GIVE BACK TO
US AND TO OUR COUNTRY.
Refugees in Berlin since 2015
Refugee Children in 855 Welcome Classes
Commitment to Integration in Germany
The campaign #FARBENBEKENNEN was developed in cooperation with Berlin Partner, be Berlin, and the Berlin Senate Chancellery. The initiative is intended to contribute to a better understanding between all people in Berlin. The refugees are declaring their commitment to Germany in the campaign by saying what they value in our country and what is “typically German” for them. They share about their special involvement in the society they are actively committed to. “The aim of the campaign was,” said State Secretary Sawsan Chebli explains, “to bring about a change of perspective and to show that refugees are a real asset to us.” The campaign is accompanied by films on BILD.de and a Christmas event, which invites all Berliners to show their true colors: to the people who came to us and to the protection of our free and open society.
The idea of freedom is a major focus of Berlin Partner. Under the motto #FreiheitBerlin, the current Berlin campaign focuses on Berlin’s thinking of freedom.
“I love democracy and fight hard for freedom,” says Fatuma Musa Afrah, 27, who was born in Somalia and came to Germany from Kenya in 2014. If you ask her what she likes most about the Germans, she says: “I hardly know any people who are so willing to learn from their own history.” Here she got a chance for a new beginning. “I don’t want anything just given to me, I want to contribute,” Fatuma explains, describing her motivation to get involved in numerous projects in Berlin and Brandenburg. For example, the human rights activist advises politicians and gives workshops and lectures on women’s rights, integration, and developing countries. In addition, she’s also putting together a Network that integrates refugees into the job market.
“I had no future in Syria. Here, I’m free. We are treated like human beings here,” the 17-year-old Rand says, describing how her life is here since she fled with her mother and two sisters to Berlin in 2015. “I want to show that we didn’t just come here to take. Germany gave me a chance to live in peace. I hope that we’ll have the opportunity to show our abilities,” Rand says, who wants to take the Abitur, or German general qualification for university entrance, and to attend university. In her free time, she sings in the Berlin Hoffnungschor [choir of hope]. The Arabic-German choir brings together cultures through music – most recently at the “Popdeurope” Festival in an impressive performance of “Ode to Joy” in both the German and Arabic languages.
“Living in freedom, expressing your opinion without fear,—I didn’t experience that in Syria. I don’t have that fear here. Here I can be who I want to be,” explains Firas (26), who left Syria in 2013 and spending months in prison there. The author, vlogger, and film maker brings together Germans and refugees. “Integration means encounter. I am trying to tell Germans our stories and to explain German society to refugees.” The “builder of bridges” wants us to take to one another more, not just about one another. “My home isn’t my place of birth, but rather where I found myself, where I am comfortable, and where I feel like a part of a community. That’s how things are for me here. In Berlin.”
Sinan (27) had been traveling on foot for more than a month before he arrived in Germany from Iraq in 2015. “I was able to openly express my opinion in Iraq,” the journalist and artist recalls. “You have this freedom here. Democracy prevails here – and no war.” As a cultural guide, today he is attracting the cultural interest of other refugees. He is promoting an open exchange as a reporter for the German-Arabic “R.Future-TV“ online and TV platform. “So that we – Germans and refugees – can shape the future together.” One of his contributions: “I made films with R.Future-TV that revolve around topics like respect, values, religion, and equality and that are intended to help refugees understand the rules here.”
“If Syria is my motherland, then Germany is my fatherland,” says Mohammed (25) from Damascus, who fled to Germany across the Mediterranean Sea, Italy, and Austria in 2014. Before he fled he studied medicine in Cairo. “I want to try to solve German problems,” he decided after learning about the blood shortage in German hospitals after his arrival in Berlin. Today he volunteers his time encouraging refugees to donate blood. In 2018 he wants to gather 10,000 blood donations across Germany with his organization “Bleeding for Germany“. “The solidarity of this society fascinated me,” Mohammed explains. “In particular, we young people have to do something for the German society that has already done so much for us.”
“When I tell people about Germany, I talk about peace and freedom, German efficiency, and order. That there are laws that people obey,” says Hadi Albari, 23, who came from Palestine in 2015, looking for a life of freedom. “Germans and refugees have to stay together,” Hadi hopes – and lets his team spirit speak louder than words. For quite some time in his free time, he has volunteered as a basketball coach for kids and teenagers in Berlin and also actively plays on the “One World Basketball“ team – a team made up of Germans and refugees. In addition, Hadi is about to complete his training to be a paramedic.
“My homeland has been at war for 40 years. I heard that Germany needs willing young people who want to work,” explains Abdul Satar, 21, who left Afghanistan in 2014 to finally live in freedom and security. If you ask him what he wants from refugees and Germans today, he answers: „We have to approach each other, talk to each other, be tolerant, and work as a team to achieve something.” He’s taking the first step by helping other people with visits to the authorities and with translations and motivating friends to take language courses. After his internship, Mohammadi started an apprenticeship as an electrical engineer at Deutsche Bahn.
“People who don’t speak German here cannot integrate. That splits the society,” says Rasha Alkhadra (41), who came to Berlin in 2015 with her three daughters aged 14, 12, and 9. That is why the dentist, who ran her own practice in Syria, is committed to a common language between Germans and refugees. On her YouTube channel , she shares stories of successful integration and explains daily routines to refugees. She also leads integration workshops and is involved with the German-Arabic podcast Syrmania from Deutschlandfunk. “I sincerely hope that Germany can become home for me and my children. This sense of belonging is extremely important for a well-balanced life,” says Rasha.