Syrian refugees help people from Ukraine

In the summer season of 2021, Anas Alakkad – who had fled from Syria to Germany – teamed up with different Syrians to determine a bunch of volunteers: their intention was once to assist other folks within the Ahr valley within the state of Rhineland Palatinate following the devastating floods there. The actions of the “Syrian Volunteers in Germany”, as the crowd calls itself, attracted consideration international, media reminiscent of the United Kingdom newspaper “The Guardian” and the Arabic TV station Al Jazeera reporting on their paintings. Today, Alakkad and plenty of different Syrians are lively now not most effective within the Ahr valley; they’re additionally serving to the sufferers of the warfare in Ukraine. Their Facebook team now has greater than 6,000 participants. Alakkad, who’s finding out social entrepreneurship after finishing a point in drugs, needs the venture to supply concrete assist whilst giving other folks hope on the identical time.

Mr Alakkad, what was once your lifestyles like earlier than you fled to Germany?

I had moved from Damascus to Lebanon in 2010 to check drugs. Four years later I went to proceed my research in Egypt, the place my sister and an aunt have been already dwelling. That’s the place I started studying German. Because I used to be not able to go back to Syria as a result of the warfare, I fled by the use of Turkey, Greece and Austria to Germany in September 2015. I first went to Hamburg after which to the state of Saarland.

What roughly welcome did you obtain in Germany?

An excellent one. Together with my good friend Faris Allahham, with whom I arrange the “Syrian Volunteers in Germany” team, I used to be taken in through the circle of relatives of a volunteer helper. We got the youngsters’s bedrooms there. I used to be in a position to reside with them for a 12 months and a part, whilst Faris stayed 4 years. This intended that we have been in a position to get to grasp Germany with a massive German circle of relatives. What is extra, after two months I used to be hired as a translator in a reception centre for underage refugees. Finally, I determined to return into drugs. After doing a paramedic path, I spent two years operating for the German Red Cross.

How did you find yourself serving to out within the Ahr valley following the disastrous flooding in the summertime of 2021?

Someone I most effective knew on Facebook on the time had prompt in a publish that the various Syrians in Germany may just assist out after the flood crisis. Faris and I had already arrange a large Facebook web page for our start-up that helps Arabic audio system short of to coach as paramedics. Initially, all we actually sought after to do with the “Syrian Volunteers in Germany” Facebook team was once supply knowledge, so we have been stunned ourselves through its luck. We had one thing like 100 participants at the first day, and as many as 1,500 after simply 3 days.

And a lot of people sought after now not most effective knowledge, but additionally to assist.

Yes, many have been satisfied to give you the chance for the primary time to do one thing. Many refugees in finding it tough to sign up for a membership or affiliation and do voluntary paintings. But with us it was once easy. Helpers have been merely given an deal with the place they might file for responsibility, get apparatus and spend the evening.

How precisely did you assist other folks within the Ahr valley?

During the primary 4 weeks the primary problem was once to do away with the entire dust in basements and houses. We then labored on construction websites, tearing up flooring and repairing partitions. That was once a large assist for the folks whose houses have been broken. There was once a really perfect scarcity of building companies within the Ahr valley. Help continues to be being supplied to this present day, and we at the moment are doing numerous paintings in gardens. We merely do the rest other folks want us to do.

And these days you might be additionally serving to other folks from Ukraine?

We had already talked in our team about different spaces during which lets turn into lively in long run. In October 2021, alternatively, I first headed off to do a semester out of the country as a part of my bachelor’s stage in social entrepreneurship, which I did on the University of Katowice in Poland. Many of the scholars from Katowice at the moment are amongst our maximum lively volunteers.

What does the voluntary engagement imply for you and your fellow helpers from Syria?

The mere reality of volunteering is the important thing: serving to others makes you’re feeling robust. In the previous, Germans helped me, and now we’re in a position to do one thing. We additionally perceive the fears that persons are experiencing simply now. This offered a singular alternative for refugees to dedicate their time to serving to different refugees. At the similar time, we’re supporting now not most effective Germany and giving one thing again, however the entire of Europe.

Do you already regard Germany as your own home, or do you want to go back to Syria someday?

I might possibly return for a seek advice from – if this is actually ever imaginable. But I nonetheless have giant plans in Germany and Europe. I will be able to be getting my bachelor’s stage in social entrepreneurship in August 2022 and am then making plans to practice it up with a grasp’s in global members of the family or synthetic intelligence. I might actually love to paintings for a non-governmental organisation or the United Nations.

And what’s your next step for the “Syrian Volunteers in Germany”?

We wish to determine a non-profit corporate. But we can want give a boost to as it’s reasonably dear. It would even be great to have a large headquarters for our crew the place lets retailer the entirety. Ideally, this is able to be positioned on the subject of the Ahr valley, the place we nonetheless be expecting to be operating for years. They want us there.



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