The HVD Berlin Brandenburg is commited to refugee work in different projects. On the one hand we carry out practical work, for example in partnership with public housing companies, to support people with a history of migration and refugees to easily start a life in a new environment. On the other hand we are doing political, societal and educational work about different issues in this topic and especially about the vulnerable group of so called secular or atheist refugees and migrants.
One especially impressive project was the cookbook we published in one of our social projects. With a small but very commited team of divers colleagues we are doing neighbourhood work in a residential area that includes a home for refugees and is consistant of a very diverse structur of population. Next to activities like private tutoring, language classes, handcraft, baby and familiy groups, litrature classes and many more, mostly including lots of volunteer work, we organized regularly cooking and eating collektively. Sometimes up to 60 person spend time eating together specialties from the neighbourhood on a very long table. Out of this we developed the idea of a cookbook, because we tried to find something to keep all the intercultural recipes and the succes we had with this simple but powerful tool in community building. Cooking and eating together with neighbours from dozens of different countries, languages, backrounds and histories including of course refugees who just arrived in Berlin and the great feeling of togetherness and tolerance had to be kept and spread somehow.
With the volunteer work of residents of the local houses, a day care for mentally ill persons and the home for refugees, the help of an artist from the nearby arts centre, the commitment of a professional photographer and our team and a good amount of donations and sponsoring from our organisations we were able to publish this book. With wonderful pictures, 26 recipes from all over the world, for example Bolani from Afghanisthan, Bouletten from Berlin, Maafe Tiga from Guinea or bean stew from turkey. All this is presented by the people who took part in our project, including the stories behind them, their backrounds, struggles, preferences and dreams. This book does not only lead you through the culinary potential of an harmonic neighbourhood, but also gives a great impression of a community that welcomes not only refugees but diversity in all thinkable levels. It aroused in a completely participatory way, long-term connected different people and filled the participants with pride and self-efficacy. It is an example for successful mutual integration and intercultural enrichment through social relationship work and professional humanistic community building.
June 20 is World Refugee Day. It is dedicated to refugees around the world since June 20, 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Leaving behind a home in hopes of a new and better life is the usual starting point for most refugees. And many escape stories are coined by trauma and tragedy. With the experience of flight comes the need for humanitarian care and support as political escape confronts many human beings with the unspeakable. At its best, it is a journey forcing individuals or families out of their familiar surroundings into an unpredictable destination. The importance of welcoming those seeking safety with warmth and empathy, and not merely tolerating their presence, seems to become an underestimated task. Every human has the right to live in a safe environment and seek shelter when exposed to threats and danger.
Today, our organization celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country. We express our empathy to those who had or have to escape conflict or persecution. We recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives from scratch.
April 22 is World Refugee Day