9 Refugees Share Personal Stories About Why They Fled To Germany

Started by HuffingtonPost, Aug 04, 2015, 09:31 PM



"Welcome, dear refugees; good to have you here."

That was the message of many of the 200 Germans from all strata of society whom HuffPost Germany interviewed last week about immigration to their country. Their expressions of solidarity, however, don't change the fact that Germany is still a country where public assemblies spin out of control and protests against the housing of refugees resemble neo-Nazi demonstrations.

Germany's Federal Statistics Office announced on Monday that the number of migrants living in Germany has never been higher. The agency estimates that 11 million migrants are currently living in the country, and that about a fifth of the population is now of migrant background. The number of refugees in Germany is expected to double to a record 450,000 this year, Reuters notes.

Why do people from Syria, from Iraq, or from Nigeria come to Germany? Very few people actually know the reasons. These nine refugees tell us why they really fled their home countries -– and what they expect from Germany.

Frank from Ghana

frank ghana
Photo: Christoph Asche

"I'm in Germany because I want a better life for myself. My parents lost their lives in a car accident, but that was a long time ago. Only my little brother and I survived. Since the accident, my brother can't walk properly; I would like to bring him here to Germany because the medical care is better.

I came to Europe without my brother. My wife is pregnant at the moment; she's currently staying in refugee housing in Munich, I'm in Dortmund. Our child is coming into the world in two weeks, but I can only visit my wife for brief periods. I would like to stay in Germany; the people here treat us really well. We were in Italy before this, where things were a lot more chaotic."

Adama from Senegal

Photo: Christoph Asche

"In Senegal many people can't live the way they want. I don't want to say any more about that. In Germany I can live freely; I have the feeling that I can be happy here. I like the German stability, the order. I was really surprised by it; before that I only knew Germany from soccer."

Nassir from Iraq

"I chose Germany as my new home, as the place where I want to live, where I want to realize my dreams, where I want to build a family.

My first contact with the German authorities was the official end of the honeymoon and the beginning of an endless spin on the Foreign Ministry's refugee hamster wheel.

I'm stuck in an in-between state between the German paradise and the hell of my old homeland. I'm not allowed to live like a normal German -- even though I live among them, even though I'm afraid to return to my country of origin, where I would be punished with death by my people."

Mudasar from Pakistan

Photo: Christoph Asche

"The situation in my home country was horrifying. I had to get out, there was no other choice. The Taliban shot pretty much anything that moved. It was bestial. Every day there were new attacks. In Germany I finally have the chance to live in peace. I hope that I can stay here."

Yaya from Senegal

"In my refugee housing, there are more women than men. Half the residents are families. I don't have anyone here, I came all alone from Senegal. I want to learn your language, definitely. I go to a language school. When I'm able to speak German, many aspects of daily life will be easier. Then I'll have a chance at finding a job. I want to stay here among you."

Beauty from Nigeria

"I came from Nigeria with my son David. My husband was separated from us in Italy; I don't know how he's doing or where he is now. In Nigeria there's war; Boko Haram persecutes and kills people just like that. I hope we can find help in Germany. And at some point I'd like to work again. In Nigeria I braided hair; I'd like to do something similar again."

Said from Afghanistan

"My greatest wish is to stand on my own two feet. But that's also precisely the biggest problem: the fact that we need assistance in so many areas. Even though it really doesn't have to be this way.

For as long as I've been here I've wanted to work. I tried to get that ball rolling and presented myself to all kinds of governmental agencies. Many want me to work for them. But that's a long way from saying that I'm allowed to work for them.

Please don't misunderstand: I feel very good here. I'm endlessly grateful for all the help we receive, for the opportunities that Germany gives us."

Sowomar from Senegal

Photo: Christoph Asche

"In Senegal I was a mechanic. A long time ago, I met a German at my workplace. When he told me about Germany back then, I knew I would like to live there. But I had no idea I ever actually would. That was a while back. There was a war back home -– and now I actually live here. I'm going to look for him. Maybe I'll find him."

Cheikh from Senegal


Photo: Christoph Asche

"I came to Germany alone, I don't have anyone here. I've made a couple of friends here in the refugee housing, but other than that I'm completely on my own. I'd like to play soccer; in Senegal I played every day. Here I don't even know who I should talk to about that."

This article originally appeared on HuffPost Germany. It has been adapted and edited for an English-speaking audience.

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Source: HuffingtonPost