Merhawi’s dream comes true

June 21, 2019

Merhawi Teame is 25 years old. Around four years ago, he came to Germany from Eritrea as an asylum seeker. He was on the road for a year, he says, and travelled across Sudan and Libya. Since then he is now well-integrated in Germany. But that does not happen by itself, Merhawi has taken proactive steps to prepare for his future in Germany.

First, Merhawi lived in the hostel in Schönbrunn. He wanted to leave there as soon as possible. After his asylum application was recognized, he looked for an apartment in Lichtenfels. And he cared passionately about improving his language skills. Language is in his view is a core competence. Everything else builds on that, such as finding a job and professional development.

Last year, Merhawi secured an internship as a warehouseman at Concept Laser in Lichtenfels. This internship was actually limited to half a year, but Dirk Gruber, his team leader, wanted to keep him: "I didn’t want to let him go, he’s good at his job." Gruber adds: "Language is the linchpin, because we communicate a lot over email." Merhawi is very involved in his professional life: "He understands the language and is interested."

Antonia Benz from the marketing department adds: "Because we operate internationally, there is a great deal of openness in the company." Merhawi is popular throughout the business and has long been fully integrated for a long time.

No education, no future

The 25-year-old left his home Eritrea, because he saw no future there for himself. After eleven years at school, he says, he was drafted into the military.  However, he didn’t seen an end to military service. His father for example, has been with the military for ten years without his having the opportunity to get away from this compulsory service. It's a vicious cycle in Eritrea: no education, no job, no future.

Merhawi is all the more grateful for the help he has received from many sides in Germany. Above all, members of the Aktiven Bürger initiative have taken care of him and repeatedly helped him. "We just help," says Gaby Berg, who is particularly concerned with the language skills of asylum seekers. In her German courses, she has involved Merhawi as a competent partner for a long time, because he is an ideal mediator and can empathize with the situation of asylum seekers. Merhawi, who himself had accepted the help of the Aktiven Bürger in learning German, referred to this type of teaching as very helpful. At the same time, the people who come to Germany learn the little things that are indispensable in professional life - punctuality and reliability, for example. Gaby Berg and her volunteer colleagues are happy to be able to support these people and contribute to their integration: "The laughter and the gratitude that comes back, is our reward."

A normal life in Franken

Merhawi arrived in Germany. He enjoys working as a warehouse specialist at Concept Laser. He also wants to educate himself further. His next goal is to get the driver's license, because he would like to have a car. He's working on that now.

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