‘It’s not easy’: Covid-19 crisis threatens integration of refugees in Berlin

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In addition to claiming lives, the coronavirus pandemic is hurting livelihoods, educational pathways and mental health – all the more so for new members of a society struggling to gain a foothold. In Germany, hundreds of thousands of refugees who arrived in the country five years ago are now finding it more difficult to fully integrate in their new country due to the restrictions of Covid-19.

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In Berlin, beyond the higher number of asylum seekers battling coronavirus infections in the second wave of the pandemic, many remain cut off from the world in asylum centers, unable to find work. Some 20,000 refugees live in such centers in the German capital.

“Normally our residents physically go to German lessons,” Berlin asylum center director Peter Hermanns told TBEN. “It’s not possible now. Some find it difficult to work online and drop out. “

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For those who already have a foot in the door of German society, the situation is also precarious. Food delivery is helping restaurateur Samer Hafez hang in there during the pandemic but, as he told TBEN, the crisis cannot last too long if his business is to stay afloat.

Anne Mailliet, Kilian-Davy Baujard, Willy Mahler and Nick Spicer from TBEN come from Berlin.

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To watch the report, click on the video player above.

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