“The support being offered by the University is just wonderful”, says Sabine Kaempfer, coordinator of activities in the big canvas tent in the Straße Am Biologischen Garten. The tent accommodation set up in June 2015 has places for 120 unaccompanied under-age male refugees. All the rooms – except for the six utility rooms – are occupied by young refugees. The atmosphere inside the tent is good.
Today is “payday”, and the young men are queuing up to receive their token pocket money. “We are lucky to have such a good location”, says Sabine Kaempfer. People at the University are extremely helpful, and the emergency accommodation benefits from the campus infrastructure and the multicultural mood that characterizes the University. For example: “We were able to use WLAN just one week after moving in.” (You can read more about the support offered by the University under: http://www.uni-bremen.de/en/fluechtlinge.html). The accommodation is sponsored by the German Red Cross and operated by the company “Wolkenkratzer”. As the residents are under age, they fall under the responsibility of Bremen’s youth welfare services and the carer/client ratio is correspondingly high, with a total of fifteen 15 trained youth workers.
Praise for student workgroup “Refugees Welcome”
“The support we get from the student workgroup Refugees Welcome is truly admirable”, says Sabine Kaempfer. They arrange language courses, taught in English or French. “Our boys really appreciate that.” The students obviously know how to teach with “patience, empathy, and on different levels”. Sports are organized four times a week with offers of football and basketball being the most popular, and the University Choir led by Susanne Gläß will from now on come on Sundays for sing-along sessions. The workgroup Refugees Welcome is currently planning an event in aid of victims to which they have also invited the refugees. “The workgroup searches for sponsors and they also do a lot of publicity, promoting public relations and showing refugees in a good light. It’s awesome!”, says the coordinator.
The University has a good welcome culture
Children are playing in the entrance area and “peace” is written in large letters in German and English along the long corridor of the accommodation tent in the Otto-Hahn-Allee. Some of the refugees have painted the German flag underneath the word. “We have accommodation for 400 families“, says Nesrin Manduz, who works for the sponsor Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund. “Some of the refugees who come here only use the emergency accommodation for a night, and since July we have about 250 permanent residents”. Nesrin Manduz is also full of praise for the welcome culture that pervades the University. “The University installed WLAN – that is really very much appreciated”. Before this was set up not even the coordinator had online access, but now it’s no longer a problem. Twelve of the tent residents were able to join the IN-Touch program and take part as guest students in lecture courses. She is especially impressed by the aid provided by students. “The language courses they organize and teach of their own accord are extremely popular”, she says. Spending time with the refugees is the best one can do. “The students accompany families to the Unisee or the University Library, where they help them get a reader’s pass. This type of interaction is very important“.