Syrian refugees are being reduced to objects of the news, to statistics, to 'things'. But can an integration program that has lost its human dimension be successful? And can we call such program democratic?
In the early February 2016 I traveled to Eastern Germany to visit a civic network centre Stassfurt Initiativ e.V., which has democratic and participatory principles at its core. Centre was founded by a social entrepreneur Anette Pekrul in 2014. Refugees are not only on the receiving side - they are encouraged to self-organize. Syrians helping in the centre offer assistance with the translations, trauma workshops for children, guitar lessons or free 'shop' with clothes, dishes etc. At the moment the centre supports about 70 refugees.
The whole initiative wouldn't be possible without a hard work of Anette. But what makes this place different from others is that she has created a space for three young Syrians to take the responsibility for running the centre's activities: for Alaa (34), Lubna (25) and her husband Moe (32), who arrived in Germany in September 2015.
I shadowed them in the centre and recorded this interview with them, reflecting on their life in Syria, journey to Germany, their work in Stassfurt and their views on the refugee situation. I hope this interview will help us to build bridges between communities, to bring us closer to each other. As Moe says, we do not know what they've been through. So let's be kind.