i58 counts it a privilege to reach out to refugees in different places along their journey. In 2021, we began sending teams to serve alongside other ministries in Germany. Germany currently hosts over a million refugees and thousands of asylum seekers. Many refugees we’ve interacted with in Greece continued on to Germany, and our volunteers have been able to reconnect with them there!
Currently, we have two community centers in Germany – Giessen and Neustadt. Schedules for the locations run a little differently: volunteers often get to serve at both locations during their time there. Both of the community centers are called Peace House.
Serving chai, coffee, and biscuits. Volunteers set up a tent outside the center where they offer coffee, black or green chai, and biscuits (thin butter cookies) to refugees coming to the center.
Games such as UNO and chess are common activities volunteers do with both kids and adults.
Art and craft supplies, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles are available for the kids to play with.
Volleyball, soccer, and other sports are everyday activities at the Giessen community center.
The German classes are taught by local Germans who volunteer alongside us. Occasionally our volunteers help out with that as well.
Sometimes, one of the team members will get an instrument out and start playing, which the refugees love. If you play any instrument, be prepared to play while you are there!
The Neustadt Community Center runs five days per week. It’s our newer location and is smaller than the Giessen center. On a typical day, only a few regulars come, but it provides an opportunity to invest more personally in peoples’ lives. Following is the schedule at the Neustadt center:Ideally, there would consistently be a family or couple staying in the apartment above the Neustadt center, so they can be close to managing it. However, this is not always the case. When there are no families or couples there, our volunteers from Giessen carve out time to fill these positions, including a 45-minute commute via train or using the team van to get there.From 3-6 pm, the center is open to the public. During this time, our volunteers make coffee or chai and have snacks, interacting and building relationships.
They often make dinner together in the evening with those who come to the center and hang out. The living room at the Neustadt center has traditional Afghan cushions and rugs, and refugees love it because it reminds them of home. They spend a lot of time in these rooms studying and eating dinner on the floor. Playing UNO is always fun and makes for a laughter-filled evening.Following are a few of the practical jobs volunteers do at the Neustadt center:• General cleaning of the Peace House
• Getting groceries and planning and preparing meals
• Making lots of coffee
• Driving refugees back to their camp at the end of the day