IT Refugee Initiatives in Munich

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. Note that this information is of early 2018, and will not be maintained.

Teaching Computer Skills

On natural area of activity is teaching IT skills, from basic to advanced. The following initiatives offer an organized framework:

  • Redi School Munich is teaching on various levels (IOT, Cloud)
  • Malteser organizes basic PC courses in downtown Munich. Expect to teach 1.5 to 2 hours per week. If you have to skip some weeks, this isn’t a problem. These might also be an opportunity for native speakers of languages of countries of origin, like Pashtu or Dari.
  • STFoundation teaches similar classes in Riem, about six times per year. They  also welcome new trainers.
  • Kiron University offers a combination of online- and on site studies. They welcome online tutors for their Computer science students in Munich.
  • Asylplus is also looking for volunteers, e.g. mentors for students of their Cisco classes
  • In Augsburg, „Tuer and Tuer“ offers „Fit for IT“ courses.

Local Initiatives – All Kinds of Activities

If you prefer going into the shelters, and more self-organized ad hoc encounters, check out the local initiatives. In Munich there’s a group for every shelter, 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  • Find a group close to you on this map – it may be outdated, though: helferkreis-map .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. Here, everything comes together. Ask them at aktiv[at], they coordinate inquiries of individuals and support groups.

Internet Access in Shelters

Internet access in the shelters is still a big topic. The city of Munich promised to provide Wifi. However, this only covers some rooms. Outside Munich, there’s often nothing. Two great initiatives do something about this:

  • Refugees Online: They run nearly 200 projects, and they work extremely professionally. People who are flexible and can repair things outside Munich on a short notice would be useful here.
  • Freifunk has a slightly different approach. They are close to the Chaos Computer Club and have the goal to provide free internet for everyone, everywhere.

Coding against Ignorance

  • And then there’s us, the Nerds4Refugees. We work on software projects that are geared more towards the public and pro refugee activists. Our code is here on git , and our output goes onto this very Website. Like the visualization of open data, and  also quizzes and maps. There’ll be a datathon in April, which will be announced Meetup, stay tuned.