The call these days is for solutions on how to deal with the influx of 800,000 refugees. Oddly, at the same time one hears about schools and whole villages closing in Brandenburg due to a loss of population. It seems that a solution to both problems is intertwined.
Why not develop the abandoned or nearly empty villages into centres of recovery and learning for the refugees? If this were based on developing organic agriculture techniques and sustainable appropriate technology one could also create meaningful employment.
The refugees are not unskilled or unintelligent and undoubtedly yearn to be doing something other than waiting for a hand-out or jobs that are simply not available. We could create modal villages of multicultural cooperation, zero-energy housing with economic growth based on something we all need—healthy food and low energy housing.
Granted agriculture is not for everyone, but nearly everyone finds contact with nature soothing. A solution needs to be found for these people who have experienced unspeakable horrors. At least until something more appealing comes up, there are certainly worse places to live. For the children in particular to contact with farm animals and nature could be very healing.
Having worked as a teacher for a year in a community in India that worked for these ideals, I know it is possible. I would volunteer immediately to initiate such a project, offering my skills as a teacher and organic farmer. Undoubtedly there are many others, who feel the same and long to be doing more than sorting donated items or helping to deal with bureaucracy.
This solution allows for an investment that will pay off in countless ways. And this solution must integrate not only the refugees but those already in Germany afraid of the change or who themselves feel left out of society. We need to develop a spirit of cooperation, love, tolerance and a sustainable lifestyle or watch our species vanish from the planet or create a planet that is so toxic with hatred, war and pollution that it is no longer desirable to live anywhere.
My mother’s family were once refugees during WWII, eventually leading them to leave for the US. Hence my German name but lack of perfect German. I also know how badly she was treated inside Germany because she had a different dialect and a different religion—Protestant in Catholic Bavaria. It was terrible for her. It must be a thousand times worse for these new refugees. I always asked myself, how I would have behaved had I lived back then. We are facing a similar crisis now—one that could become potentially even worse.