This is our longest running project, the spark that lit the fire. We have been up and running for a year and some more, visiting migrant shelters and doing art activities with kids from all ages. Currently, we run an event every Saturday, and have an extensive network of volunteers.
A year ago, in August 2015, something terrible appeared in the news: it was the tragic destiny of the migrant boy Aylan Kurdi. The image travelled the world, and for many, a new conscience flourished: this was was not sensationalism, but a wake-up call telling us that we had to do something about the migrant crisis that was hitting Europe due to the middle eastern war conflicts.
Germany stepped up and decided to open borders for refugees, and Berliners found a need to contribute. As you may know, there are a lot of people that are living in Berlin, immigrants as well, that do not speak German, or are learning, and those people wanted to help as well. Due to the lack of information in foreign languages, some of us felt a bit left out of the whole volunteering processes.
This is how our group started: María Paula, a PR consultant from Argentina, posted an add on a couple of Facebook groups to see who wanted to come with her to play with the kids at her local refugee center in Schöneberg. The response was overwhelming, and two days after this, around 12 volunteers joined her for the very first open Playdate. Between the volunteers, there was Tanya, a Swedish-Lebanese girl, who immediately contacted María Paula to help even further. It was then when the proper group was founded.
The playdates attracted more and more people every day, and some even came regularly. Then along came the winter, and due to paperwork issues and the Schöneberg center closing, the playdates experienced a hiatus, but as soon as the group could engage officially with the organization that ran the new Tempelhof center, they were back for good.