Graceful living and privacy are human rights. We’re all used to having our own space no matter how big, how luxurious or how well located – it’s our own private space. The feeling of security, comfort and rest when coming home after a stressful day makes all the difference. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for a lot of refugees coming to Germany. The German initiative “Zusammenleben Willkommen” (Translated: “Shared Living is Welcome”) tries to act and arrange permanent living situations for refugees.

Maybe you’ve already seen one of the posters from Zusammenleben Willkommen (pictured above) around Kiel. This is written on the poster:

To sleep with eight people in a room, share bad + kitchen with hundreds of others. No possibility of retreat, no private space, no participation at the society. Excluded, stigmatized and confronted with racist attacks. That’s the reality for about 300.000 refugees.

Zusammenleben Willkommen

Since Germany’s former chancellor Angela Merkel spoke the words “Wir schaffen das!” (“We can do this!”), Germany has been openly welcoming refugees since 2015 in an ongoing European migrant crisis (Source: The Guardian).

Merkel’s decision was controversial and not without criticism. Solely between 2015 and 2019, Germany took in 1.7 Million people applying for asylum, which makes us the country with the 5th highest population of refugees in the world (Source: The Guardian).

After the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency), at the end of 2020, 82.4 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide, thereof 11.2 million people only in 2020. Since then the war in Ukraine forced around 6 million Ukrainian people to flee their homes (Source: United Nations), with around 600 thousand of them seeking refuge in Germany (Source: Mediendienst-Integration).

It’s time to act and time to figure out solutions. Zusammenleben Willkommen is a platform that connects refugees with people with free rooms and here is how you can help:

Maybe you have a free room yourself or you know somebody who has a free room which can be rented. It doesn’t matter if it’s a shared apartment (WG Zimmer), a free apartment or an empty room at your parent’s place. If you have a room or know someone who does you can register the room on this website.

Important! The room should be available for at least 12 months, Zusammenleben Willkommen is not looking for short-term solutions but wants to help refugees find a permanent home.

This is how it works:

1. If you have a free room available you can register it online.

2. Shortly after, a person from ZW is going to contact you and will try to find a refugee who will be a good match for your living situation. They will introduce you to each other so you can get to know one another.

3. You don’t have to pay the rent yourself! Together with ZW you’ll figure out how to get funding for the rent.

4. Your new roommate will move in & ZW will still assist you with any further questions.

If you don’t have a free room and don’t know anybody who does, you can still help and become part of the Zusammenleben Willkommen volunteering team. Check out their website for more info here.