Start with a friend
The organisers have already been able to find 120 tandem partners this way since April 2015 and the trend is upwards, as there are another 720 supporters still waiting to become friends.
There are already volunteers who can help refugees take care of official business, look for a place to live or visit the hospital. What many refugees lack, however, is contact with people they can meet up with in the evenings as friends (on an equal-footing, human-to-human basis) rather than as refugees in need of help. But finding friends in an anonymous capital such as Berlin is anything other than easy. This is where the support programme Start with a Friend steps in with its offer to find tandem partners for refugees. The meetings between tandem partners ideally lead to friendship, as it recently did between one legal student from Damascus and another from Germany. If it doesn’t work out at first, there’s always the opportunity to find another partner.
Fortunately, the Start with a Friend team hasn’t had any negative experiences so far, probably because they meet interested refugees individually to determine their wishes and needs, while the German partners are invited to take part in an information evening.
The organisers have already been able to find 120 tandem partners this way since April 2015 and the trend is upwards, as there are another 720 supporters still waiting to become friends. This number can’t be managed on a voluntary basis alone, which is why the team has launched a crowd-funding campaign to help them generate funding to expand the project. Another eight cities are already interested in the concept and there will be many more, evidence of the fact that Start with a Friend is the way to go.
Start with a Friend – Friends for Refugees