Like many others in his circumstances, Alaa arrived in Germany in 2013, fleeing from the war and Assad’s regime. He fled Syria at the age of 18 and faced quite a journey. He went through many traumatic events, and in two different situations his heart stopped beating – one time after walking for 2 days in extreme cold temperatures, without a break, with no food or water, and one time he nearly drowned in the sea. After walking for days and arriving in Germany without any family or friends, Alaa faced many hardships: living in refugee camps, separation from family, accessing services, cultural barriers, and uncertainty about the future. Having to adapt into a new country, culture, bureaucratic processes, language and mentality, Alah taught us a valuable life lesson: he kept moving on and fighting for his dreams of a future with freedom and safety. Almost 9 years later, he now speaks German, he took care of all of his documentation and paperwork by himself, found work, is engaged to a woman he loves, and sees a brighter future in his new home.

Nevertheless, conversations like this reminds us of the need of a better assistance to refugees, including support with relocation, schooling, work opportunities, language courses, integration programmes and information to help people starting their new lives.

In case you can’t help individually with any of the above, you can still support these people by being kind, being a patient listener, having empathy about their circumstances, volunteering a specific skill, donate ting charities and institutions which help refugees across the globe or regionally, or simply  by spreading the awareness to the cause.

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