“We live integration!” How the Child Care Company integrates refugees professionally

When I see him, I’m almost a little afraid to interrupt him. He does his chores in the pretty kitchen at the farm daycare with so much dedication and focus. But I’m supposed to do a little interview with Simon because we want to feature him on the website. Simon is from Nigeria, is 31 years old, one of 5 children and has been employed as a cook and housekeeper at Child Care Company since August 2016. As part of the innovative project “Unternehmerinnen geben Chancen” (“Women entrepreneurs give opportunities” ) of the IHK Bayern (“Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bavaria”), Ms Wunderlich-Steger first offered Simon an internship and then, after only three weeks, a one-year contract. She is very happy that Simon is now on the team. He does his work with a smile on his face, is friendly, punctual, very accurate and wants to learn. That impresses her and the team.

After we have introduced ourselves, Simon and I go into the staff room. My list also includes questions about what his life was like in Nigeria, how he experienced fleeing to Europe, and why he fled. As we start talking, however, I quickly realize that I can’t ask these questions. Just the mention of Nigeria, his old home, is enough. He has a lump in his throat, can’t speak. I know he was persecuted politically and religiously for being a Christian. That he was on the run for almost 2.5 years, was in prison in Libya, and was in these places we only know from TV. Then he says it’s a very long story and that he’ll tell it if he has to. It doesn’t have to be. His aura and attitude told me from the start that he was looking forward, into the future and thinking positively. He aspires to train as a child care worker, wants to earn his own money, be able to start and feed a family and make a contribution to society. He lives here in Munich in a Refugee Camp in a small apartment with a roommate. Showers and toilets are in the corridor. But that doesn’t bother him and he says it’s good, warm and dry. When asked how he likes it at the Bauernhof Kita, he says: “I am very proud and happy to have this work here. They treat me like family. My boss is so nice, she shows me everything and she is not angry if I am doing a mistake.” The German language is still very difficult for him, so we speak mainly English. When he was new in Germany, he really wanted to do a German course right away, that was very important to him. But after 3 months of crash course of course not everything works in German yet.

After 30 minutes we go back downstairs. Mrs. Wunderlich-Steger is already waiting there. Today we’re supposed to have barley barley soup. It is important to her that fresh, regional and occasionally Bavarian food is cooked and that Simon can learn as much as possible.

As I drive home, I have to think about one sentence of Simon’s in particular, because it comes so naturally to us: “When you find a place where you can live peacefully and safely, I call that home.”

I am grateful for the chance to meet Simon and wish him all the best in realizing his dreams.

In the next article we would like to report about Mustafa from Somalia, whom Mrs. Wunderlich-Steger also enabled to start a professional career in the Child Care Company.



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