21/08/2017

Active Citizenship & Communities

Active citizenship in Germany

Do you want to get actively involved in environmental or social work? Or would you like to have contact with people from your home country or of the same religion as you? You’ll find a wide range of possibilities in Germany. The "Engagiert in Deutschland" Web page in German provides a good initial overview.

You are free to decide what voluntary work you want to do, as under German legislation everyone is free to choose which legal association, party or religious community they wish to join. However, you may be expected to pay a membership fee. You can ask the organisation you wish to join for details. Of course, you can also found a club or another kind of organisation yourself.

One thing is certain: it will do nothing but good. Because your commitment means not only exercising social responsibility and helping others, it is also a way of achieving personal development. You can let your potential and creativity unfold, meet other people, get to know local or internationally operating bodies and improve your language skills. So why not play a day-to-day role in this and help to shape your environment by giving something of yourself!

Active citizenship as a parent

Many schools and day care centres in Germany depend on the active involvement of the parents. You regularly get to meet the teaching and educational staff as well as other parents at parents’ evening. As well as this, you can also join a parents’ group. By maintaining a constant dialogue with teachers or educators, you will be able to take an active role in the day-to-day life of your child at school or at the kindergarten (Kita). Moreover, you will be kept informed about his or her education and school work or get counselling, as well as being able to contribute your own ideas. You can find out exactly what you can do by asking the teachers or other parents. Also, you can find a list of parents' associations on the German-language Web site „Planet Beruf“.

Involvement in intercultural work

Virtually all towns and cities have places where peoples of different cultures and immigrant organisations can meet. Here, people of different origins, cultures, religions, ages and nationalities come together. Besides their involvement in social issues, these associations usually offer a multitude of different intercultural activities – cultural festivals, leisure activities, sports, and grants for basic and advanced education. But the principal aim is to foster cultural exchange and mutual respect. Many towns and cities have an office for multicultural/intercultural affairs, or for integration, an integration officer and a council of religions. Here, committed individuals work towards ensuring that different cultures and religions in Germany live together in harmony. Perhaps you would like to do voluntary work with one of these organisations, or share your culture and traditions with others too.

Networking with people from your home country

For many immigrants, it is important to maintain their cultural and religious roots or to teach their children and descendents something about the traditions, language or religion of their country of origin. This is why it is important to build contacts with fellow countrymen and women who are living in Germany. Try looking on the Internet or in the phone directory to see whether there is a community or association near to you which does something that interests you. In Germany there are countless communities and associations which cater to the different cultural, linguistic and religious needs of people from all over the world. These often function as counselling and networking centres and can help you, especially during the early days of your stay, with useful tips and their experience of all aspects of life in Germany.

Do you already feel at home in Germany? In that case, you can share your treasure trove of experience and your knowledge with others and help them to settle down in Germany. Below are a few contacts for finding out about intercultural associations and migrant organisations near to you:

Active citizenship for your home country

If you want to do something to help your home country, again Germany is a good place for doing so and offers a variety of possibilities.

  • Joining an association/donating money: Do you want to help fund an actual issue or project in your home country? In Germany, you could collect donations, join an association or even found a new association yourself.
  • Exchanges: You might even get a chance to put the contacts and experience you have acquired in Germany to good use: perhaps your new company is interested in setting up a permanent exchange with your former school or university as a means of fostering potential new recruits. Otherwise, you might have the opportunity of finding new markets for your employer in your home country, or of putting your knowledge and experience at the service of development in your home country in a domain where there is a particular need.
  • Helping the family: For many people who move to Germany, it is important to support their family back home with goods, or financially by transferring cash to them. The figures of the World Bank provide cogent proof of this. They show that in 2010, private individuals transferred a total of just under 16 million US dollars from Germany to foreign countries. The fees charged for this kind of transfer vary widely depending on the service provider and the type of transfer. This is why the independent www.geldtransFAIR.de (German) offers a cost-free comparison of providers and methods for transferring money abroad, so that you can find the best one for you.

Active Citizenship for Development

Building bridges – active citizenship for development

Many people with a migrant background work in all kinds of ways to help development in their countries of origin or other regions. This way, they can act as key bridge-builders between the two worlds, because people who know different cultures, languages and regional contexts have a wealth of potential which can lend great impetus to mutual understanding, cooperation and development The German government runs a number of initiatives and programmes to support them in this:

  • The "Engagement-global.de" (German) platform provides information about the different ways you can get involved in development work.
  • The Centre for International Immigration and Development (CIM) can help you with various programmes:
    • The "Migranten als Brückenbauer" ("Migrants as Bridge-builders") programme: this funds not-for-profit projects by migrant organisations working in Germany which are working to improve living conditions in their countries of origin.
    • The "Returning Experts Programme" will help if you wish to return to your country of origin.

Active citizenship at work

Companies too provide plenty of opportunities for getting involved and for inputting your ideas, culture, or experience of other countries. For example, you can join the staff representative body, one of your company's internal networks or a work group which counts particularly on international know-how. By getting involved, you are not only demonstrating an interest in your new employer; it is also a quick way of getting to know colleagues from other sections of your company. You will overcome your initial difficulties with the German language and also pick up valuable tips about your new locality.

Incidentally, more than 1,200 companies, public bodies, associations and charities in Germany have already signed the “Diversity Charter”, committing themselves to fostering a tolerant, pluralistic corporate culture. You can find a list of these committed employers here.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15

Iranian Voices Slam Donald Trump’s Reported Visa Ban as ‘Shameful’

Iranian Voices Slam Donald Trump’s Reported Visa Ban as ‘Shameful’

 TEHRAN, Iran — President Donald Trump provoked an angry backlash from Iranian voices after reports he would block visas for citizens of seven Middle Eastern and African countries and temporarily...

Read more

These are the world's most powerful passports

These are the world's most powerful passports

Germany takes the lead with a visa-free score of 157. Singapore overtakes South Korea and becomes the highest ranked Asian passport, with a visa free score of 156, coming second...

Read more

Curtailment of 30,000 student visas each year sparks row

Curtailment of 30,000 student visas each year sparks row

More than 30,000 non-EU students a year have had their visas curtailed by the Home Office in the past three years, figures obtained by BBC News show. And 410 educational establishments...

Read more

Calls for inquiry after evidence for UK student deportations ‘comprehensively demolished’

Calls for inquiry after evidence for UK student deportations ‘comprehensively demolished’

The Home Office is facing calls to launch a parliamentary inquiry into Theresa May’s immigration policies after a tribunal found thousands of foreign students may have been unfairly deported. The UK’s...

Read more

Americans and Canadians might need visas for Europe

Americans and Canadians might need visas for Europe

Be prepared! You might need a visa for your next European holiday or business trip. The European Union is considering requiring Americans and Canadians to apply for visas, even if they...

Read more

EU chokes on US visa dispute

EU chokes on US visa dispute

Bulgaria and Romania want the EU to impose visas on US nationals. It probably won’t happen. But EU officials’ attempts to “wiggle” out of the situation haven’t gone down well. The...

Read more

Turkey moves closer to EU visa-free travel

Turkey moves closer to EU visa-free travel

Turkey is moving closer to being granted visa-free travel to the European Union. It could be in force by the end of June.   The bloc’s executive, the EU Commission, has said...

Read more

EU might require visas for U.S. and Canadian visitors

EU might require visas for U.S. and Canadian visitors

Visa-free travel throughout the EU’s Schengen region may be coming to an end.Currently, Americans and Canadians only need a passport to visit the EU while visitors from other countries like...

Read more

Italian PM in Tehran with large delegation

Italian PM in Tehran with large delegation

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is in Iran for a two-day visit at the head of a large delegation to upgrade relations which have been warming following a nuclear agreement...

Read more

Germany, Turkey to Intensify Illegal Immigration Fight

Germany, Turkey to Intensify Illegal Immigration Fight

Merkel has refused to restrict asylum conditions and has sought to persuade Turkey to crack down on people smuggling BERLIN—Germany and Turkey on Friday pledged to intensify efforts to fight...

Read more

Iranian citizens fear US visa waiver bill: ‘It’s just unfair’

Iranian citizens fear US visa waiver bill: ‘It’s just unfair’

Iranian citizens who have ties to the United States are anxious about a new bill that would no longer allow them to be part of the visa waiver programme. If...

Read more

Iranian dual citizens fight new US visa rules

Iranian dual citizens fight new US visa rules

Dual citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan are protesting against a new US programme that restricts their travel.Neysun Rouhani and his wife live in the UK. He's a concert...

Read more

Germany should invest more to help euro zone grow - Commission

Germany should invest more to help euro zone grow - Commission

Nov 26 Germany and the Netherlands, which have big current account surpluses, should invest more to help boost economic growth and inflation in the whole euro zone, the European Commission...

Read more

Italy is land of opportunity for Goldman Sachs

Italy is land of opportunity for Goldman Sachs

The US investment banking group’s SICAV has already risen through the ranks in size of assets, from 43rd to 18th, currently at just over $50bn, while GSAM as a whole...

Read more

Australia and Germany sign new tax treaty

Australia and Germany sign new tax treaty

Australia and Germany have signed a new treaty on tax in the first step towards growing trade and investment between the nations and improving the integrity of the tax system...

Read more