Refugees, having arrived in the state of Hesse, Germany, in the city of Schlüchtern.
In the residential accommodation Hof Reith, just outside the small city of Schlüchtern in the eastern part of the state of Hesse, around 150 persons live, having come there from all over the world to seek asylum. Last year, more than 100,000 persons came to Germany to seek asylum and now live all over the country.
Daily life creates many challenges for the refugees, applications have to be made to all sorts of institutions; doctors, city and state officials must be visited, refugees are faced with a completely new environment, without knowledge of the German language, constantly remembering the terrible situation at home or the dreadful experiences after having fled from their home countries, in fear of what is happening to relatives and friends back home, with uncertainty what is to come in this new country.
The Brücken Café is a voluntary effort, originally established by the local Protestant Church and now supported by the district Main-Kinzig in the state of Hesse, a regional organization named Spessart regional and the city of Schlüchtern.
The Brücken Café was founded in 2004 as a result of a fierce debate in the city in connection with the planned construction of a mosque in Schlüchtern. The Brücken Café did not participate in the public discussion which was characterized, among others, by discriminatory statements against foreigners. Instead, the Brücken Café organized meetings where Muslims and Christians met to discuss and introduce respective cultural customs and thoughts. Later the program to offer German classes and other activities followed from these activities.
- Daily German classes on two levels of proficiency for the refugees in Schlüchtern and in the city of Steinau
- Intercultural gatherings with local citizens and the refugees, four times a year
- Mother/children get-togethers
- Assistance when visiting doctors, lawyers and officials
- Excursions in the area
- Movie, dancing evenings and much more
Currently 25 people are active voluntary participants in this effort.
In the fall of 2013 we were honored by the county council for our extraordinary voluntary work.
Clas Röhl coordinates the activities and stands for the continuity of the project.
The Brücken Café depends on donations for its work in order to finance above-mentioned projects and the project coordination as carried out by Clas Röhl. Official financial support by the European Union which expires this fall has to be matched by donations. Thus we have to collect 3.500 euros by October 2014.