Aus dem Allende-Viertel: Language is Key

At the beginning I actually hated myself, I didn't want to stay here, I just wanted to go back. I don't know anyone here, I can't speak the language. When I speak to people in English, they say "Hello! This is Germany. Speak German!". It was all quite stupid somehow. A whole new life. I felt different somehow, I don't belong here, you know. I just want to go back. To be honest, there were also a lot of racist people who said stuff to me. For example, after I learned the language, I think it was in 2017 or so, I wanted to apply for an apprenticeship and I sent 50 applications to companies and I got more than ten responses saying "We recommend that you continue learning German." Even though my application was perfect. How can you tell that my German is not good? From the fact that I am a refugee? By now, I even teach German to other people. All these racist statements have forced me to go on and pull through.Of course, it's much, much more difficult for my parents. They only understand a little German, they can't speak it. Although they try to learn it. My father was a teacher of Arabic, spoke Arabic for 50 years. Now he's trying to learn a new language, even taking classes. But "kannste vergessen" as they say in Berlin.

This text was written as part of the exhibition "sprach-fähig" by BENN (Berlin Develops New Neighbourhoods) in the Allende district as part of the International Weeks against Racism. Many neighbours from the neighbourhood took part and shared their stories.

About the author

Katha koordiniert InteraXion, Willkommensbüro und Wohnraumberatung für Menschen mit Migrations- und Fluchterfahrung in Treptow-Köpenick. Sie begleitet RawafedZusammenfluss von hauptamtlicher Seite. Journalistische Erfahrung konnte sie durch verschiedene Projekte der Jugendpresse und dem Studierendenmagazin UnAufgefordert sammeln. Wenn sie nicht nach neuen Geschichten sucht, tummelt sie sich in Boulderhallen.

Katha coordinates InteraXion, the welcome office for migrants* and refugees in Treptow-Köpenick and accompanies RawafedZusammenfluss through her work. She gained journalistic experience through various youth press projects and the student magazine UnAufgefordert. When she is not looking for new stories, she spends her time in bouldering halls.



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