On 11-12 April 2013, the SHARE City Exchange Visit Programme welcomed a delegation of 6 participants from the city of Munich to the UK. You can download a copy of the full programme for the 2-day visit here.
The Munich delegation was made up of participants from the following organisations and authorities:
- City of Munich - Munich ('München') is the capital city of Bavaria ('Bayern') in the south of Germany. Munich has approximately 1.4 million inhabitants, approximatemy 36% of whom are considered to have a 'migrant background', and has the strongest city economy in Germany. Munich has received resettled refugees in the framework of Germany's ad-hoc resettlement of Iraqi refugees in 2009 and subsequent annual quota resettlement programme.
- Munich Refugee Council - coordinates a volunteer network that provides direct assistance for refugees and asylum seekers living in Munich, and conducts outreach and advocacy to increase awareness of refugees and to lobby for humane refugee policies.
- 'Save Me' - is a German grassroots campaign, begun in early 2008 in Munich. Save Me mobilises local support for and involvement in refugee resettlement in regions, cities and towns throughout Germany, and the Munich Save Me group works with the city to coordinate reception and integration arrangements for resettled refugees arriving into the city. For more information on the ‘Save Me’ campaign, download a copy of the SHARE & PRO ASYL publication 'A City Says Yes! Reflections on the experiences of the Save Me campaign to promote refugee resettlement in Germany'.
- Diakonie - is a national NGO that provides direct assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in many cities and towns across Germany, including Munich.
On the morning of Day 1 of the programme, the delegation met with the city of Sheffield and its local resettlement partners to discuss their respective cities, their local resettlement programmes and challenges and practices in the areas of refugee integration and protection at the local level. The delegation then met with representatives of Sheffield City of Sanctuary, the founding branch of a national grassroots movement to build a culture of hospitality for those seeking sanctuary in the UK. Now present in around 25 UK cities and towns, City of Sanctuary shares many similarities in approach and experience with Save Me campaign. The Munich delegation attended an awareness-raising presentation given to a housing organisation by a refugee volunteering with City of Sanctuary, and a language exchange between French students at the University of Sheffield and Francophone refugees and asylum seekers living in the city. Day 1 concluded with a civic reception and screening of the documentary film ‘Moving to Mars,’ that follows two Karen families resettled from Thailand to Sheffield in 2007.
On Day 2, the delegates were hosted by the NGO Refugee Action in the city of Manchester. Delegates were given an overview of the resettlement programme operating in the North West of England, including pre-arrival planning, and reception and orientation. Delegates were then introduced to the community development programme run by Refugee Action within the wider resettlement programme, and were guided through a typical working day of a Community Development Worker in Manchester.
Later on Day 2, delegates met with Bhutanese refugees resettled to Manchester in 2010 to discuss the community organisation they have established, the types of activities they are involved in and their experiences of resettlement to the UK. The group included former participants of the InterAct Youth Project, an initiative led by Refugee Action that aimed to strengthen relationships between young refugees and other local young people by providing a platform for them to work together on issues affecting their community. You can download the free community cohesion ebook produced by the project here or watch the short project film here. The visit concluded with the screening of a film made by young Bhutanese refugees resettled to the North West of England, which you can watch here.
Please click here for more information on the SHARE City Exchange Visit Programme.