Members of the Ghanaian community from Karlsruhe, Kiel, Mannheim, Cologne, Freiburg, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Essen, Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dortmund, Bremen, Frankfurt, Duisburg, Berlin Flensburg and Darmstadt gathered at the weekend through a conference call to discuss how best to support the Ghanaians in Germany during the ongoing pandemic crisis.
The confab, third community meeting of the community since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, assessed the situation in Germany and how Ghanaians have been specifically affected. Below is the official report issued after the meeting:
Message from the Embassy to the community
Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany, Her Excellency Gina Blay, joined the discussion and commended all of us on the good work we are doing and extended her greetings to all Ghanaians in Germany.
• No Ghanaian in Germany has so far died as a result of COVID-19.
• The Embassy has suspended its services to the public until there is a new directive.
• Passports processed will be sent to applicants.
• Visas not used have not gone to waste. The Embassy will address it after the crisis.
• Those who paid for Visas we see how best to handle them. Once they get the authorisation.
• The embassy is willing to facilitate our support we intend to send to Ghana.
• She encouraged the community to be each other keeper and follow the measures from authorities.
Strategies to support undocumented immigrants
• Members are encouraged to support family and friends in need.
• Associations, Unions and Churches are advised to identify such people. Individuals are also encouraged to reach out to leaders of any Ghanaian association with their challenges
• Fundraising to support those in difficulty
• Buy some food and keep in Afro Shops for members in need to access
• Support members to seek medical help when needed.
• Provide community hotlines for members to call for assistance.
• Provide list of doctors will to attend to uninsured or documented members.
• Build databases to identify those in need in the communities.
• Help to take care of children of health care workers in the community
• Union of Ghanaian Associations in Germany to discuss the best way to coordinate and disseminate the information to the various groups.
Ideas on stress management during the crisis
Pastor Turkson together with the participants made the following suggestions:
• The emotional load on us is enormous and we should seek for professional help
• Stress can affect our blood sugar and blood pressure and we should consider others when sharing graphic images
• Delete fake news and avoid forwarding irrelevant videos
• Reduce food intake to help reduce stress in such situations
• Avoid unnecessary debates that raises temper
• Reach out to leaders in the community to explain the rules and regulations from the authorities in local languages if you have difficulties with the German language
• Try to not to pour out your stress on your kids and reach out to others for help
• Stress has different effects on different people and can lead to long-term depression
• Members should deactivate auto download and decide on what they would like to watch
• Stress management techniques include relaxation, mediation, talking, praying, feeding our brains with positive thoughts and setting goals to look come out of crisis stronger
• Clean up your WhatsApp forums from provocative statements
• Obey the rules from the authorities and don’t get into arguments with the security personnel
• We should read encouraging and motivational books to deal with the situation we find ourselves
Financial support for individuals and small businesses
Mr. Charles Ankamah made a presentation on the above topic and the participants added their suggestions:
• Uncertainties in our financial situation bring stress.
• We might begin to feel the impact in May-June and the financial crisis will linger on for 1-2 years.
• Difficult times ahead and there is the need to manage our finances well.
• Plan with the family on how best to cut down on expenses (ride bike to work if you can)
• Discuss with your supervisor on short-term work (Kurzarbeit) and insurance available.
• Some businesses will not recover, and some might request to go on early retirement.
• Small businesses such as Afro Shops, among others, can apply for Corona Emergency Support (Corona-Soforthilfe).
• Due to the border closure there are a lot of farming jobs available.
• Check with job agencies for support.
• The community will need to support members who do not qualify for such benefits.
Operation “Ghanaian Community Coronavirus Funds (GCCF)”
• To lessen the impact of COVID-19 on our families and friends.
• Raise funds to help Ghanaians in Germany and in Ghana
• Provide an account and request voluntary contributions.
• Appeal to all groups to encourage their members to contribute from 1 euro upwards
• Members can decide if they want the amount to be public or private.
• Reach out to the radio and TV stations to sell the ideas to the communities.
• UGAG and the initiators will discuss and present an account to receive the contributions.
Kwaku Appiah (+49 17621845702)
Benjamin Okrah (+49 17623101924)