Give Something Back To Berlin (GSBTB) is an award-winning project platform and network fostering community integration, intercultural dialogue and participation among Berlin’s diverse migrant populations. We work as a connector, creator and catalyst for all sorts of grassroots driven social impact work. We call it “making worlds meet working together for a better city”. GSBTB creates tools for community integration bringing more “privileged” migrants, locals and refugees together. Through our extensive grassroots initiatives we create meeting points between groups that normally wouldn’t come in contact with each other, building inclusive networks and countering anti-migrant discourse. Our concrete “think global, act local” work showcases everyone’s capacity to contribute regardless of passport, status, language or time spent in the country.
GSBTB Open Music School
Berlin’s diverse and innovative music-scene is world famous. The OMS started in early 2016 with the intention of inviting and helping newcomers to be an active part in this amazing community. We currently have classes happening every week at Refugio Berlin (Lenaustr. 4):
- Open Music Lab on Monday evenings at 17:00
- Women’s Guitar Group on Tuesday evenings at 17:00
- Social Singing Group on Tuesdays at 19:00 (not at Refugio – @SoliNaR, Hertzbergstr. 1)
- Piano on Tuesday evenings at 18:30 and 20:00
- Bass-Guitar on Wednesday evenings at 19:00
All of our classes are taught by volunteer teachers and are always FREE. We are looking for new students (from all different skill levels) and teachers to get involved and will also be offering more instruments soon. In addition to our weekly teaching, the OMS is also involved in organising networking events and other opportunities for new Berliners to meet with people from the city’s existing music scene. By creating a network of youth centres, music industry, recording studios, rehearsal spaces, venues and individual music-tuition-services, we aim to make Berlin’s musical culture open to everyone! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow them on Facebook.
GSBTB Open Art Shelter
The GSBTB Open Art Shelter is a safe, creative space for the free expression of emotions, intercultural dialogue and trauma healing. We use arts, crafts, music, textile creativity, sewing, knitting, dance, storytelling and literature to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers and foster peace between people. This includes: a weekly family and kids-friendly activities at the refugee Tempelhof Shelter; a women-only textile workshop in Refugio; families’ Art Shelter and Creative Cooking at Refugio and a shelter in Lichtenberg; women-only safe spaces at private homes, remote refugee homes, cafes or parks; projects like painting murals at refugee homes; a letter project– exchanging letters between refugee kids and volunteers, even establishing some overseas pen-friendships; pop-up Open Art Shelters, allowing connections between refugees and locals through arts and crafts, for example at festivals, parks and the Klunkerkranich rooftop garden. To be part of this project you need the meet the team and undergo certain training. There are also security regulations around some of the refugee shelters where we work (like Tempelhof Airport) but all information around that will be made clear at the introduction meeting.
We are open to local families meeting and connecting with refugee families. If you are interested, then just send a message to email@example.com. In addition, once a month we have an event open to women and children which you can attend without going through special training. Our open events can be found on our Events page and you can follow the Open Art Shelter on Facebook.
GSBTB Open Kitchen
Under the umbrella of our GSBTB Open Kitchen, we enable newcomers of all backgrounds and locals to interact, socialise and share recipes through several cooking projects. As a pop-up event, the Open Kitchen has provided chefs with a refugee background the opportunity to share their knowledge and delicious food at various venues, providing catering and an insight into the culture and cuisine of their countries of origin. We rely heavily on you, the volunteer community, to help us make these events possible, and you are sure to pick up some sweet culinary knowledge along the way! We also host monthly meetings on weekends, where we get together either at a park or an indoors venue in a very casual setting, have a barbecue or cook together, play games and just generally have a really good time together! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on Facebook.
GSBTB Open Language
GSBTB has two running projects related to helping newcomers gain or improve upon their German and English skills. Our free weekly GSBTB Sprachcafé – German for “language café” – meets Wednesdays from 5.30-7.30 p.m. at Refugio Berlin, Lenaustr. 4,, giving everybody who wants to improve their German in a friendly, non-language school setting the opportunity to sit together over tea and snacks, talk, make friends and find tandem partners. Watch your German level improve and don’t hesitate to bring your friends! Additionally, we also have an Open English Café that takes place twice a week in two different locations – Tuesdays from 6-8 p.m. at Refugio Berlin and Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at ImmobilienScout24, Andreasstr. 10. We are always looking for German native speakers for Sprachcafé and people looking to practice their German at all levels. We are also looking for people who want to get involved more regularly with the organizing team. Contact: email@example.com and check our Events page for weekly updates and locations.
GSBTB Open Yoga
Every week GSBTB hosts a free yoga class. We offer this class to all our GSBTB community members to ground, relax, work on their stretches and sweat. It is accessible for all levels (beginner to advanced) and open to everyone – you don’t need to bring anything other than yourself, as we have mats, blocks and blankets. Come join us Thursdays from 4:30-6:00 p.m. at Refugio Berlin (Lenaustr. 4) on the second floor (2 O.G.) – there’s no need to sign up in advance! Spread the word and join the self-care movement – people who care a lot for others (and the world) should also take time to care for themselves.
GSBTB Community Team Ups
Every month GSBTB organises a community event where refugees, newcomers and Berliners of all kinds – Germans, recently-settled, longtime neighbours – come together to meet, mix, learn and share. The idea is as simple as any Facebook page or LinkedIn group, but playing out in real life. Here we create connections of all sorts; social, professional, business, and possibilities for finding people for your awesome project, idea or cause. Being new in the city often means you won’t yet have an established network of friends, family and helpers – the ones we often take for granted, not realising this is one of our greatest resources. At our team ups newcomers can create or expand their local networks through a little chatting. A lot of things happen naturally – people get to know each other, hear about job opportunities, find a spot in a flat, get their first internship, find a project to get involved in, meet old and new friends and get to know some familiar faces that add up to a sense of home. You can find information about our Team Ups on our Events page.