The general claim for a an unrestricted right for free education should naturally apply to all people, also to those who want to live in Germany or see no other perspective than coming here. It is not acceptable that we expect asylum seekers to adapt, when they need to battle bureaucratic barriers and common institutional racism, while no chances are being developed for them to break isolation, to evolve freely, to learn, to communicate in everyday life, much less to choose a profession or work in their original field. These conditions show that refugees are basically not welcome in Germany, at the same time they are expected to behave as if they were. If ‘integration’ does not include more than self-exploitation for a society and adaptation to a culture which itself exposes its denial of ‘foreigners’ through these policies, we refuse this term and exclude it as basis and motivation for our work.
We do not provide language support with the goal of ‘integration’, but aim to create one of many preconditions so that different people with different curriculums can pursue their needs and enforce their interests – that they can raise their voices. To us, promotion of the German language does not mean education for a ‘German’ lifestyle but the basis for a self-determined life, where origin and personal goals are not given up.
We emphasize our independence of public, commercial and religious institutions. It is not our intention to compensate the failures of the state in its own interest, we do not want to be seen part of the institutions whose existence we criticize; we do not want to be used as a good example of an asylum policy that we do not agree with.
Portrait by Xen.on TV
History of the initiative
Our association Multitude e.V. originates in the „Initiative Deutschunterricht“, which was founded by students of the Freie Universität Berlin in 2001 and then started teaching German lessons in the initial reception refugee shelter in Berlin-Spandau.
Since then we have offered regular evening classes in this shelter with fluctuating numbers of volunteer teachers and students. By now we have extended the offer to several other shelters in Berlin.
In 2011, we founded the association Multitude e.V. to create a framework for further projects and activities. Currently we comprise many volunteers who provide access to the German language for refugees. They do so for different individual motivation, spend time together and exchange their experiences.