I had the chance to visit a refugee camp while I was in Germany. It was a large compound with a series of apartment buildings where people of all ages and backgrounds lived. A woman who worked at the camp shared that many people spend their time there waiting to leave; they don’t want to stay in the camp when there’s a whole city out there beyond it. After hearing this, I found myself wondering if there was a better option.
“Why shouldn’t refugees be able to live in flatshares or houses instead of camps?”
Refugees Welcome is a non-profit organization that began in Berlin in 2014, and has since expanded to 14 countries worldwide. The goal of this program is to connect refugees with locals who are willing to share their homes and provide them with a place to live.
This living arrangement is far more beneficial to refugees than living in a camp. Instead of isolating them, it integrates them into the community, which provides a stronger sense of belonging and overall happiness. It also allows them to learn the language faster, adjust to their new environment more easily, and make connections with their fellow citizens, something that can be otherwise difficult to do.
A person interested in hosting a refugee simply has to register their home on the website and provide information about their living situation. After the application is reviewed and a few vetting procedures take place, they will be matched with a person looking for a place to live.
This arrangement is always free for refugees, and can be free for the host as well through Refugees Welcome, crowd sourcing, and donations.
You can donate here.