A project to support recent migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers from Africa as well as Africans displaced by the war from Ukraine, has launched in Berlin.
Implemented by GAIDI, a non-profit social organisation, YANA Berlin (for You are not alone in Berlin) assists the African migrants by providing them important information that facilitates their integration into society.
The project, supported by the Türkischer Bund Berlin-Brandenburg, comprises a hotline, a series of online information sessions and an in-person event, at which newly-arrived Africans are connected with those who have been living in the city for a much longer period.
The objective of a ‘community connect’ is to encourage settled Africans to act as mentors to the new comers and support them on an on-going basis.
Two of the online information sessions deal with the asylum and other laws in Germany relevant to the situation of the new comers. Another is about how best to learn the German language and how migrants can use their acquired language skills to seek opportunities for education and training. Moreover, explanations are provided on how education and training offer a pathway to regular residency rights in Germany.
An online event is also devoted to mental health, on to how manage the fear of the unknown as the life of an asylum-seeker is often characterised by uncertainties.
“Our aim is to ensure that African asylum-seekers, refugees from Ukraine and other newly-arrived migrants face lesser hurdles in settling down in Berlin,” Femi Awoniyi, the project manager, said.
“Our observation has shown that the much higher success rates that other groups, such as Turks, Syrians, Iraqis etc, record in their asylum claims are due partly to the support they receive from their communities,” he added.
“We therefore believe that if more efforts were invested in supporting African migrants, we would be able to make their lives much easier and fewer of them would fall on the wrong track.”
YANA Berlin, which kicked off on 1 August will run until the end of November. However, efforts are already being made to ensure that the activities of the project will be continued beyond November through collaboration with other organisations.