By Chikulupi Kasaka
Team red from AEGEEs’ Europe on Track 3 Project arrived safely in Heidelberg, Germany on the 25th April. In collaboration with the local antenna AEGEE-Heidelberg, they delivered a workshop about the Refugee Crisis in Europe. Team red had the opportunity to interview local youth as well as a refugee. Their opinions were honest enough to raise the voice and awareness for a better Europe and better refugee crisis management.
Arman Turma is one among the youngsters the team interviewed. He is 19 years old, from Hungary, studying Philosophy and Psychology in Germany. Arman came to Germany in 2015 and at that moment he had little experience travelling abroad except for tourism.
As a Hungarian citizen, Arman doesn’t see himself as a European citizen. However, he perceives Europe as being borderless for the fact that there are no checkpoints across borders, as well as free movement of people is made easy. “Europe is more democratic, has cooperation between its nations, lots of freedom and a wide culture which is modernized in terms of ideas and organisations”, said to Europe on Track. Refugee crisis is the eminent crisis that the European Union is facing currently. Xenophobia is another problem in EU, which is a growing problem that needs to be addressed.
The way forward for refugee crisis management within the EU would be to receive more refugees and to put no artificial borders. The EU has the capacity to accept more refugees, and this can be achieved by being united and representing one voice towards managing the crisis. Politicians should be less populists and opportunistic, ended Arman.
Team red had also the opportunity to interview Ebrahim, who is a refugee in Germany. Ebrahim is a Gambian citizen who fled his country for fear of persecution towards his life. Gambia became no more safe for him and he had to flee.
Ebrahim’s journey from Gambia to Germany was not smooth neither easy. He initially didn’t know that he will end up in Germany, but the odds were in his favour. These did not happen overnight. He left Gambia in 2013 through a bus to Senegal, then to Mali, to Algeria, and to Libya. The security situation was not good in Libya and he needed to take a boat to Italy. Nothing would stop him. It was a scary choice but to him, it was either being dead than alive in Gambia.
Ebrahim was rescued in Italy by the Italian officials in 2015. He stayed there for two months and fled to Germany because the environment and life were not favourable. In Germany, he was caught by the police, who took him to a controlled Karlsruhe Emergence Camp. He stayed there for a month before being moved to the village where he stays to date. He feels safe being a refugee in Germany and he likes it there. The process to make his stay in Germany legal has started and the police had taken his fingerprints. He is now waiting for official papers and later on documents to be issued. He will be happy if he is accepted to be a German citizen.
As a refugee, Ebrahim thinks that nowadays mostly Syrian refugees are in the centre of public attention, however less is done to assist refugees from other countries, like his one, Gambia. To the decision-makers, Ebrahim is grateful for their job in refugee management even though he would like to see further improvement. He is open-minded and willing to be interviewed by decision-makers in order to improve the condition of refugees’ management in future.
The future is brighter for refugees in Europe as it is in Ebrahim’s heart. Youth envision for more freedom and free movement. With no artificial borders, borderless Europe is way possible.