Finding a volunteering group can be hard. Often, it’s harder than finding a paid job. Also, things change – politics change, which changes the situation for refugees, which in turn changes the work of their supporters. All our plans, preparations, experiences – invalidated by one new law. But we are still here, and we start over. If you think you are agile, this is an area where you can prove it.
This list is not comprehensive. I only include inititatives of which I know that they are active. This was updated in Summer 2020.
Local Initiatives – All Kinds of Activities
If you prefer going into the shelters and experience more self-organized ad hoc encounters, check out the local initiatives. In Munich there’s a group for most shelters, offering whatever is needed, and whatever they can cover: Repairing bikes, filling out documents, teaching German … For me, there’s a shelter 10 minutes from our home, and this is perfect for me. It gives me the flexibility I need, and helps to build trust.
- Find a group close to you on this map – it may be outdated, though: helferkreis-map . Or ask at:
- Münchner Flüchtlingsrat. This is a place to which both refugees and volunteers turn for help. If you come across questions you cannot answer – about the legal procedures, how to get money, anything – it’s a great resource.
Internet Access in Shelters
Internet access in the shelters is still a big topic, and Covid 19 has proven that it is needed to cover the most basic needs like going to school or staying informed about, say, Covid 19. Many shelters are working on it again, to provide anything or to improve the coverage. However, it takes governmental providers years to get things up and running. Two great initiatives are:
- Refugees Online: They run nearly 200 projects, and have a wealth of experience with both the beaurocratic and the technical subtleties involved.
- Freifunk has a slightly different approach and prefer to steer clear of bureaucracy. They are close to the Chaos Computer Club and have the goal to provide free internet for everyone, everywhere.