Refugees with Attitudes

O. – Burkina Faso

“I come from a village in Burkina Faso. I never went to school, but always helped my father in agriculture since I was a child.

In view of the lack of job prospects, I left there in 2011. I came to Germany via Greece and the Balkans in 2012, hoping to find work there. I didn’t know anyone there. I then came to Saxony-Anhalt, where I applied for asylum and lived in a home. In the first few years, I at least got money there; from 2016, I only got vouchers. When I applied for asylum, I had no support whatsoever. It was rejected and I was only ever given temporary tolerations. My applications for work permits were also rejected. I was told that I should bring papers (passport). Then I would also get a work permit. I found the situation in the home hard to bear: no contact with the German population, no possibility to learn German; nothing to do or sleep all day. That’s why I decided back in 2013 to live mostly with an acquaintance in Berlin. Because here in Berlin, every now and then I have the opportunity to find short-term jobs through African acquaintances and thus earn a little money to be able to buy something to eat.

Since 2018, I no longer have a toleration permit, so I live without papers. When the ‘Corona time’ started, I had heard from other refugees that there were chances of getting a stay because of Corona. So I made a new application for asylum at the Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office.

But since I was last registered in Saxony-Anhalt, they referred me to the foreigners authority in Magdeburg. Now I am waiting for an appointment for the hearing.

So far I have had no contact with counselling centres or refugee councils. I have not met any Germans in all these years.”

The contact with us is the first time he has spoken to Germans for a longer period of time.

He has not had any contact with politically active people. The ‘Indivisible’ demo was the first time he had taken part in a demo.