Khalil's familyFinally they have arrived. After several nerve-wracking months, we were finally able to welcome them to Belzig: Khalil’s relatives. Khalil is a Kurd from Syria and has been living in Bad Belzig for almost 4 years, where he became friends with a few people from ZEGG. As the conflict situation in Syria worsened, we asked him to tell us more about the real situation in the country, including the role of the Kurds and how people are dealing with the rise of the IS.

The more he told us, the more empathy we could feel with their situation. His family wanted to stay in their home country: his parents, brother, sister-in-law and their two children. Two years ago we collected donations to enable Khalil’s father to install a pump that secured a supply of drinking water for the 1000 villagers and up to 6000 refugees they were hosting (mainly from Aleppo).
Then, last September, Khalil called us one evening to say that the dangers of the war had now encroached directly on the region where his family were living. The roaming military had repeatedly approached his brother, trying to ‘take him with them’ and force him to fight. Fighting was only 20km away. There was a very real danger to the lives of Khalil’s family: as he said, they had “no future” there anymore.

We discussed how we could help and how to make it possible for this family to leave Syria. Silke Grimm began enquiries at the Foreigners' Authority and the relevant ministries. There was no possibility to include them in the official ‘refugee quotas’ for Germany as a whole or for the state of Brandenburg, so perhaps we could issue private invitations? But this would imply finding people to sign legal guarantees to cover all and any costs that would arise for the six-strong family for the entire duration of their stay in Germany. And this is where the strength of community became visible, with only one further meeting necessary to raise donations or guarantee pledges. German bureaucracy moves slowly and there were plenty of legal hurdles still in the way, but on March 8 all the steps had been taken and the family could board an aeroplane for the first time in their life, arriving safely in Berlin. The photos show their welcome meal in ZEGG: Khalil’s parents, his brother, sister-in-law and their two children. For the meal, the Kurdish refugees brought the starters and we cooked the rest. “This is the happiest day of my life,” said Khalil. “My family is safe and I am no longer scared what could happen to them.”

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We are overjoyed that we could help to bring six people to safety. And we hope that many more people do the same, since there are still hundreds of thousands of people in acute mortal danger and seeking refuge. We can readily advise anyone who wants to help in a similar way.



ZEGG – Center for Social and Cultural Design
Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 89, 14806 Bad Belzig
Germany

phone: +49 (0) 33841 595-100
fax: +49 (0) 33841 595-102

Email:
Web: www.zegg.de


The ZEGG is a community of about 100 adults and children. How can we create a sustainable and creative life and an awake awareness to promote issues of love and sexuality, ecology, community, and create policy. We invite you to visit us, especially our summercamp.

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