Migration, integration and help for refugees – as a platform for people of all origins, we at WirHelfen want to offer support concerning these topics. That’s why I did some research in the north of Germany, and I found what I was looking for. In Hamburg, there are various offers for people who have become refugees and need help. For a more in-depth look and to provide the right assistance for every problem, I interviewed Lea Caßens from Project Connect (today: Basis & Woge).
More and more people around the world are becoming refugees, fleeing violence, wars, discrimination, poverty, hunger or natural disasters. But especially those who come to Germany do not necessarily have an easy time finding their way. People without identity papers or with an uncertain residence status usually slip through the cracks of our system, even in a bureaucratic social system like the one in Germany. In addition to the language barrier, many other challenges await them, such as finding accommodation, getting food, clothing and everyday necessities.
For a safe and solid start, however, it is essential for refugees to know where to find the right services to organise their daily lives – a challenge that applies to every member of the local society equally. But refugees are naturally confronted with particular difficulties. In addition, access to many offerings is often hard to find.
The problem many offers for refugees in Germany have to deal with
Helping refugees is about offering people quick and handy assistance. But often the first obstacle is finding and getting access to the right services. Lea Caßens, who has been working in the field for several years, recognises this: “There are many, excellent offers in the field of refugee assistance. However, since many of the young people come from other social systems, they are not familiar with the procedures. They have to make appointments, for example, before they can be helped. Counselling without language mediators can also lead to confusion.” In addition, some of the projects are time-limited. That means they are only extended for one year at a time and when in doubt, they are cut back again.
„Stable funding programmes are important.“Lea Caßens, ehemals beim Projekt Connect
Lea considers the promotion of accessible programmes in the accommodation centres to be particularly useful for the integration of migrants and refugees. Unfortunately, there are hardly any of these so far, although they are essential to actually reach people and to make sure that they know about the offers and drop-in centres they need.
A solution-based approach for arrivals: Mentoring projects and guidance
Lea and her colleague have had the most positive experiences with their mentoring project and with mentoring in general. “The refugees get to know Hamburg’s culture, language and structures through a person living in Hamburg at an honest level”, they explain. “All the so-called ‘mentees’ who had a mentorship with us mentioned this when it came to what had supported them the most in arriving in Germany or Hamburg.”
Here you can find help as a refugee in Hamburg
Important: All counselling centres have special office hours, and in most cases an appointment must be made before a personal visits. Due to the Corona pandemic, some counselling services are only available digitally.
For questions about the right of residence
Church-based contact point for refugees and an uncomplicated project that offers free legal advice once a month.
Refugee Law Clinic
There are currently around 30 refugee law clinics in Germany, including one in Hamburg. There you can find offers of student legal advice for refugees, especially in the area of migration law.
Flüchtlingszentrum Adenauerallee (Refugee Centre Adenauerallee)
The Refugee Centre is committed to the issues of refuge and protection of refugees, offering orientation, counselling on legal matters, advice on referrals and counselling on future perspectives. Language courses are also offered – including courses online.
Healthcare and medical treatments for refugees without papers or health cards
The medical and social office for people without a passport is open to people from non-EU countries living in Hamburg without a valid residence authorisation. It offers confidential and anonymous consultation services. And no data will be passed on without consent to anyone.
Ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst (Medical assistance number)
Anyone can call this number and find support with medical issues – including refugees. Anyone who has become ill and needs a doctor can call this number outside of doctors’ office hours to seek assistance.
Contact the service by phone +49 116 117
Help with mental health issues at Diakonie
Anyone who worries a lot, has anxieties or can’t cope with themselves and the surroundings can find help here – regardless of religion, gender or nationality.
Here you will find a range of counselling and support services for migrants, refugees and emigrants.
Contact the offer
Online at caritas-hamburg.de
By phone +49 (0)40 280 140 200 and +49 (0)40 280 140 800
Via e-mail [email protected] and [email protected]
On site – Only if counselling by phone or email is not sufficient, an appointment can be made for direct counselling.
The project tries to continually improve the care for refugees with traumatic experiences in Hamburg. It offers qualified counselling and trauma care and works closely with many other services for refugees.
Language courses, learning German and getting to know other people
This community centre in the heart of Hamburg provides language courses and counselling for people of all origins. It also operates a cosy café with a welcoming atmosphere.
basis & woge e.V.
The state-approved, non-profit organisation providing social services in Hamburg is involved in the fields of youth and family support, preventive health care and intercultural work. basis und woge e.V. has many years of experience in educational work with young people in crisis situations – particularly with young refugees – and offers a wide range of services
The support services at basis & woge e.V. are divided into several different projects.
Tracing and youth welfare service
DRK-Suchdienst (DRK Tracing Service)
The German Red Cross (DRK) project helps people who have been separated from their loved ones by armed conflict, natural disasters, migration, displacement or in search of a new home. The team helps to find relatives, to bring them in contact with each other again and to reunite families.
Contact the service
Online at drk-suchdienst.de
By phone +40 (0)40 432 020
Via e-mail [email protected]
On site at the General Secretariat of the German Red Cross / Suchdienst Hamburg, Meiendorfer Straße 205, 22145 Hamburg, Germany
EvaMigrA stands for “Evangelische Migrationsjugendsozialarbeit (Protestant Migration and Youth Social Work)” and is a recognised association. The team provides counselling and support for young people with a migrant background between the ages of 12 and 27 years, and also works together with their parents.
Contact the offer
Online at evamigra.org
By phone +40 (0)170-799 51 95
Via e-mail [email protected]
On site at the DRK Centre Osdorfer Born, Bornheide 99, 22549 Hamburg
By phone +40 (0)40 607 507 90
Via e-mail [email protected]
On site at Duvenstedter Damm 10, 22397 Hamburg