What does Caritas do for refugees in Germany?
The aim is to enable these people to live a dignified life. In order to achieve this, many need immediate help and support on arrival. But they also need help and advice over the medium- and long-term to give them a better future. Caritas offers just that and also helps shape the political and legal framework conditions.
- The Malteser Hilfsdienst, amongst others, a professional association of the German Caritas organisation, works to provide urgent care for people seeking protection. Other Caritas organisations are also facing high demand in this area nationwide, particularly at the current hubs.
- Caritas organisations are operating tent villages and other accommodations in various areas.
- Caritas is involved with helping people seeking protection at railway stations via the Bahnhofsmission.
- Caritas coordinates volunteers who are working to provide urgent care.
- The German Caritas association acts as a liaison between companies providing assistance and local institutes and services.
Medium- and long-term support for people seeking protection
Once immediate (first) care has been provided, people seeking protection face a number of basic questions, e.g.:
- What is the procedure for asylum application?
- Where are language courses available or where can integration courses be accessed?
- How is access to the labour market regulated?
- When can people move into accommodation?
The Caritas migration and refugee services provide people seeking protection with the answers to these questions. These services also provide support in preparing and going through the asylum application as well as with integration.
Advice for asylum application
- Those wanting to apply for asylum can seek help from the Caritas asylum application advice centres. These centres provide help in preparing for asylum application and while applying for asylum as well as with questions regarding residential status. This helps to speed up the process.
- Caritas works together with 30 lawyers nationwide to answer questions regarding the laws concerning refugees and foreigners. These lawyers provide advice to individuals and to groups.
- Independent Caritas deportation monitoring centres at the airports in Frankfurt and Berlin attempt to ensure that no fundamental or human rights are violated through deportation. Amongst other methods, they employ preventative de-escalation.
- The advice services provided by Raphaelswerk and Caritas for return and onward travel are available nationwide also for migrants who were not granted asylum.
- The Caritas therapy centre for victims of torture in Cologne offers therapeutic and social work support for traumatised people seeking protection. More psychiatric-social centres began operating in 2015, and more are currently being setup.
- Social services for refugees offer information, orientation, individual aid and integration measures, among other services, and help people seeking protection to get to grips with everyday matters.
- Educational institutions funded by the Catholic Church and Caritas provide support for unaccompanied refugee minors.
- Migration advice for adult migrants (MBE), funded by Caritas, offers advice at 230 locations for migrants, including refugees who were granted asylum and so-called 'contingent refugees' participating in resettlement programs.
- Youth migration services, which can be found at 110 locations and are funded by the Catholic Church, advise and support young migrants (including refugees) up to the age of 27.
- In addition to the services and institutions that are responsible for answering specific questions and providing help for migrants and refugees, other social services provided by Caritas are also available for specific issues.
- There are numerous projects to support refugees upon arrival in Germany, e.g. in the areas of education, training and careers as well as sponsorship programmes.
A permanent focus on society
It is important to Caritas that the great readiness to provide hospitality and help in Germany is maintained. One of the most important approaches to ensuring this is supporting volunteers. Caritas does this by providing support and a helping hand with regionally relevant information.
Caritas also attempts to remove concerns and reservations about people seeking protection, which stand in the way of building up peaceful communities and the integration of people seeking protection. This includes colleagues promoting a community that encompasses both people seeking protection and locals at panel events and town meetings for the opening of new refugee accommodation. The help that Caritas provides for refugees is never at the expense of the help it provides for other disadvantaged people.