Researching the Refugee Crisis in Berlin

A CGS worker living in Berlin and conducting research among refugees has filed the following report. We will keep you updated on further progress.

Reading statistics about all of the refugees coming into Europe is overwhelming. For me, visiting a refugee housing center made that general sense of overwhelming need more real. But where to start? So much could be done. There’s a lot that probably should be done. The dynamics of one group of people being pushed by violence out of their homeland into someone else’s are complex.  Perhaps a good place to start is with questions; to take the obvious question “What do these people need,” and add to it “What do they have to offer?” I am intersecting with refugees across Berlin in an attempt to answer these questions.

Frankfurt Trauma Basics Conference

Celia Deneen and Dr. Leah Herod presented a one-day trauma basics conference, under the auspices of CGS, in Frankfurt, Germany on Friday, October 7, 2016.

73 were in attendance, representing a cross-section of people in the Frankfurt area, all of whom have been interacting with refugees, at least over the past year. Prior to and following the conference, Dr. Herod and Celia Deneen had the opportunity to counsel with refugees, listen to their stories, and help them in their difficult journeys. People of many different nationalities are now in Germany and are searching spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and physically, as their foundational beliefs about life have been shaken, due to war, uncertainty, loss, etc. Needs of the refugees can be seemingly overwhelming – many people are reaching out and welcoming refugees, but the refugees are legally unable to work, have few resources, are in crisis, and often do not know the language

People assisting refugees need encouragement and additional manpower to continue the efforts. Refugees are often under tremendous pressure from family members and others to find jobs, learn language, and assimilate into the German culture, and workers who are helping them in these endeavors often find themselves traumatized by their stories, difficulties, and perplexing problems. Finding genuine community and people upon whom refugees can depend is one of the key aspects of their assimilation into the German culture. The clash of cultures will continue – but we believe there is an opportunity for mutual transformation with the blending of different cultures.

Will you continue to stand with us to see acceptance by the German people of this influx of refugees; a desire by the refugees to become a part of the receiving culture; and flourishing of all who work with refugees?

Trauma Counseling Seminars (Frankfurt, Germany)

According to recent statistics, 65 million people in the world today are displaced.  Much of that people-moving has come as a result of war and violence in their home countries, and though the survivors may be physically safe in their new environment (as least compared to their home environment), they often experience great emotional and mental upheaval as a result of their experiences.

With a million new immigrants coming into Germany in the last year, that nation is laboring to welcome  and assimilate the refugees into German culture.  CGS is working alongside the church in Germany, as the German people know that understanding refugees’ psychological trauma and how it affects them is a key part of providing that welcome.  German colleagues have invited Leah Herod, Ph.D.,  and Celia Deneen, M.Ed., to present a one-day workshop in Frankfurt on Trauma Basics for them and other interested participants across Europe.  The workshop will address such topics as trauma and its anticipated effects, the interplay with cross-cultural adjustment, how the church can help, and what caregivers need to do to be prepared for the long haul.  Dr. Herod and Celia also plan to meet with refugees in groups, including mothers and their children, in an effort to give them tools to deal with trauma.

NEW POST: Frankfurt Trauma Counseling Conference

Refugee Crisis: Farsi and Arabic speakers needed

One of the greatest needs in Germany and across Europe is for Arabic- and Farsi-speaking young men to engage with our colleagues who are working in refugee camps. The refugees have time on their hands, as they do not have jobs, are unfamiliar with the native languages of Europe and with European customs, and are looking for friends and people who either speak their language or are at least willing to spend time with them. If you are interested, will you let us know?