As an educational institution that is founded on Christian principles, TeachBeyond Deutschland had to answer the question, “How can we let the refugees in our area feel that they have value and are loved by God and us?”
The answer resulted in three projects:
1. Housing and a program to integrate refugees into the community are provided in the former Black Forest Academy Blauen dorm in Marzell. Many of the Syrian and Bosnian refugees speak English, and some speak a little German. They are families, married couples, and siblings. “Some are outgoing, some restrained by bad experiences, but we are so grateful for everyone and look forward to using the time together to learn from and with each other,” said Susanne Seywald, TeachBeyond’s director of refugee ministry. The German social service agency is helping them register for citizenship and school. They have an escort team that helps them understand the culture as they settle into their new home.
2. In cooperation with one of the larger refugee associations of the region, a tutorial program is being developed so that refugees can become familiar with important aspects of everyday life in Germany. This should help them better cope in German society. “We see that expectations of German workers, officials, and caregivers often cannot be met, because people from different cultural backgrounds have no knowledge of the rules of our society. Everyday situations that we handle in the normal course of life are ones that they cannot handle,” Seywald said. The recurring topics that have emerged from difficult interactions with German society are the basis for the tutorial program.
3. A key part of the integration of refugees is their entry into the labor market. To accomplish this, we are teaching them how to write a resumé, write letters and emails, and search the Internet for jobs. Many have never before used a computer. We started weekly computer classes in an encouraging learning environment, and teach the young people how to be safe online.