Dear GSBTBerliners, hangarounds and friends. What a crazy beautiful ride the last couple of weeks have been!
You who follow GSBTB work will know that we always had hundreds of eager volunteers but lately we had hundreds of project sign ups EVERY DAY!
Since the “refugee crisis” went completely viral in the media over the last couple of weeks, SO MANY people felt that it was time to take action, get involved and DO stuff! We are now experiencing something truly wonderful with people coming together in ways we haven’t seen before, creating moments of change. With spirits and interest high, we now have a unique chance to build a new culture of living together; in Berlin, Germany and Europe as well as being a strong contra power to the xenophobic and nationalistic virus that’s been spreading over our continent.
The flip side of this powerful, positive spirit is that our cities and countries have not been well prepared, neither for all the newcomers, nor for the public’s huge interest in getting involved. The organisations coordinating the refugee work are completely stretched to the limit, taking care of a lot of work that the state maybe should have had done itself (those of you who have followed GSBTB’s work know that we’ve been talking about this for a long time now…) The first 2 years GSBTB built up a network with over 650 volunteer and activists from 45 countries in 60 social organizations all with out ANY financial support from the city. (Ok we’re lying – we got 500 € when we won a prize for European Integration from the European Commission and Berlin Senate 😉 ).
A lot of great potential is going unused in a time when we most need it. We hope you will help us change this because, after a phase of seeing lovely spontaneous initiatives spring up all over the city, we need to create more long-term sustainable engagement! GSBTB have been working non-stop to connect, network, inform and seek out the latest situation at the emergency shelters, as well as setting up many new long-term projects.
You who followed our work know that GSBTB has been heavily involved in the migration and refugee topic over the last two years, so for us, working with refugees is nothing new. But the thousands of migrants arriving daily and hundreds of people wanting to volunteer are for sure! That’s why we are now launching a crowdfunding campaign to enable us to host more sustainable local refugee work in Berlin!
Go home one drink earlier and donate 6 EUR to us, or ask your philanthropic aunt in Dubai or US (who doesn’t receive very many refugees anyway) to support us with 30 EUR! Spread our campaign around your network, or ask you boss for a tax-deductible donation from the company – VAMOS LEUTE – let’s create a little piece of new Europe together!
Annamaria Olsson is the founder of Give Something Back to Berlin.