IWC Warendorf's Refugee Cafe

Posted by International Inner Wheel | Nov 23, 2018 |

Our refugee café   -   a café of creativity

Our Inner Wheel Club started this project when the first wave of migration reached our city in 2016/2017.

We had great ideals, but their realisation was a bit difficult sometimes.

Our intention was to offer women and their children from different cultures and coming out of war areas a place where they could stay for a while without being afraid of anything, where they had the feeling to be welcome, where they could communicate with each other and with our German friends. These women from Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kosovo, from Russia, Serbia, Armenia – Christians, Orthodox, Muslims and Hindus – are sent to us by our local council.

We want to give them a place where they can feel at home, where they learn something about our European culture, where we can help them to understand our ways of behaviour and our traditions.

If they like they can gain some manual skills such as knitting, sowing, painting. We try to help them in their everyday life and answer their questions. At the beginning the language barrier was an enormous problem, but there has been great progress after two to three years. Now, all of us share a feeling of close familiarity. 

An art therapist tries to solve still existing traumas. A primary school teacher explained the school system and possible ways of further education to them. A gynaecologist informed about pregnancy and contraception. We visit museums with exhibitions for example about our different world religions, in November we will bake together in a canteen kitchen. Every year in July we organize a summer festivity with dishes from the different countries made by our refugees, where they wear their typical garments, play their music and show us their dances.

 Once a month, on the first Friday, we meet in the art therapist’s house, have coffee or tea, talk to each other, play games and try to help where help is needed for the whole afternoon. 

To sum up we see good progress and realize it is worthwhile offering people help, attention, esteem and respect. We created a place of welcome and familiarity for our refugees – a café of creativity.

 Annette Paulitsch - IWC Warendorf - D87