Opinions in Germany are split over the refugee crisis and not every citizen supports Merkel's policy of welcoming refugees with open arms. At Haus D, however, we met ordinary Berliners who are doing what they can to alleviate the conditions at LAGeSo, whether it's a hot cup of coffee or a pair of winter boots. But more than that, they are building a community of volunteers and refugees from all over the world—a place that feels like home.
Christiane Beckmann is the coordinator at Moabit Hilft, a local citizens group that began bringing clothing, toiletries, diapers, and other necessities to the refugees at LAGeSo this past August. Over the course of the last 6 months, she's become close with many of the refugees who volunteer at Haus D every day.
(left) A little boy stands in the hallway as his mother picks out clothing for him. (right) Clothing donations from the community come in on a daily basis. This pile of baby clothes still waiting to be folded and organized.
Elly is an Iranian refugee who volunteers in the folding room at Haus D. While she is grateful to have made it to Berlin, she still struggles with the fact that she has had to leave her parents and the rest of her family behind.
(left) Skrollan is a 22-year-old college student and regular at Haus D. She runs the kitchen where they prepare the coffee and tea that they pass out to people waiting in the long lines outside. (right) Alex and Ayham, both refugees from Syria, volunteer and help translate. Alex has only been in Berlin for 4 months, but learning German has come quickly to him; he's also pretty good at taking selfies! (example above) Ayham in the bright yellow vest now lives with Christiane and her family; she says she's gained a new son.