Refugees Support Flood-Affected Communities in Germany

Refugee leaders from IsraAID Germany’s integration programs volunteer in flood-ravaged North Rhine-Westphalia

Tuesday, 27 July 2021. For immediate release:

With Germany hit by the country’s most devastating flooding in living memory, a team of refugee leaders have joined Israeli non-governmental humanitarian aid agency IsraAID’s emergency response team in North Rhine-Westphalia. IsraAID’s team, in partnership with ZWST, the Central Welfare Board of Germany’s Jewish Community, has been coordinating emergency aid, conducting relief distributions, providing Psychological First Aid, and supporting clean-up efforts in affected communities. Alongside ZWST, IsraAID’s Emergency Response in western Germany is supported by AJC and medical device company BD.

The group of refugee volunteers are participants in IsraAID Germany’s “Navigators” program, which provides young refugees with leadership training, integration support, and opportunities to engage in community service. They have joined German and international members of IsraAID Germany’s staff, including psychosocial support specialists, in the North Rhine-Westphalia emergency response team.

Bshesh, 28 years old from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, described volunteering to join the flood relief team is “a thank you to all Germany, as my life has been saved and I have been healed here. Here I could build myself a new life. And I am always ready to help, to show my gratitude towards Germany.

Hamid, a stateless 33-year old based in Berlin and member of IsraAID Germany’s team, said:

As I saw the pictures of the flood, I remembered how I arrived in Germany in 2015. At that time, pictures of refugees arriving here were all over the news and many people saw them and did not wait, reacting immediately to support us. I have learned from that situation and I wanted to do it the same way this time. Not waiting, but going out to help without hesitation.

Hamid has been an IsraAID Germany employee since earlier this year, leading online language classes for refugees.

IsraAID has worked to support refugee integration and protection in Germany since 2015, when more than one million refugees entered the country, largely from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. In 2018, IsraAID Germany won the Chancellor’s Integration Award, presented by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for their work providing psychological and social support to refugees, with a focus on women’s rights and empowerment.

Donations to support IsraAID’s response work can be made through the IsraAID Emergency Response Fund.