Credit: picture alliance / DW
Credit: picture alliance / DW

What is a great first stop if you're a refugee seeking help in Sweden, Germany, Italy or Greece? InfoMigrants collected information on organizations that might be helpful.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of organizations, that offer help to refugees in the EU. But many charities are highly specialized or only active in some regions. InfoMigrants looked at what nationwide refugee charities could be a helpful jumping-off point for refugees seeking help. We looked at four countries with a high refugee population - Germany, Greece, Italy, and Sweden.  


Sweden

If you're looking for general or specific advice on who to contact in your region, umbrella organization FAAR could be a great starting point. FAAR (which is short for Flyktinggruppernas Riksråd, the Swedish Network of Asylum and Refugee Support Groups) is a network of several volunteer groups that provide services for asylum seekers and refugees in Sweden. On their homepage, FAAR provides an overview of organizations who are part of the network. Many of them are local and specialized support groups who provide council and other services to refugees in their region. (Unfortunately, the list is only available in Swedish).

FAAR also provides a brochure on their homepage that gives asylum seekers an overview on what rights and what duties they have in Sweden. It is available in English, Swedish, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, and Russian.

The Swedish Refugee Advice Centre offers asylum seekers, among other things, free legal advice. They have two phone hotlines for asylum seekers in need of legal advice, one for adults and families, and another one for children. 

Charity Sociala Missionen also councils migrants seeking help over the phone. 

These two homepages provide an overview of organizations that might be helpful to migrants and asylum seekers in Sweden: 

http://www.refugeelegalaidinformation.org/sweden-pro-bono-directory

http://picum.org/en/resources/contacts-of-organisations/links-to-organisations-sweden/


Germany

In Germany, the so-called "Flüchtlingsräte" (refugee councils) are umbrella organizations that coordinate the activities of various local and national pro-refugee organizations at a state level. Their goal is to counsel and integrate refugees in Germany. Their 16 state chapters usually provide information on local advice centers. This website provides an overview of all German refugee councils and links to each state chapter. 

https://www.proasyl.de/en/our-network/  

Pro Asyl is Germany's largest pro-refugee charity that cooperates with the Flüchtlingsräte. They offer free legal advice hours via phone. The also have in person advice  Their homepage also offers a comprehensive overview of information and organizations that might be helpful to asylum seekers. 

There are also more specialized organizations that help with specific tasks in Germany, such as "Refugees Welcome," which sets up refugees with flatshares. But the refugee councils are usually a good starting point to find out more about specific volunteer organizations in your region.


Greece

The Greek Council for Refugees is an NGO that works to advise and integrate refugees living in Greece. They offer free legal council to asylum seekers and refugees, among other things. They're based in Athens, Thessalonica and Ionnina.  

The Greek Forum for Refugees is an umbrella organization run by the Greek Forum of Migrants and other pro-refugee organizations. It seeks to support refugees in the asylum proceedings. Among other things, their website offers comprehensive information on the asylum application process in Greece. 

These two links offer a broad overview of charities that help refugees in Greece: 

http://www.griechenland.diplo.de/contentblob/4812846/Daten/7451974/Merkblatt_Hilfsorganisationen_Hilfe_fuer_Fluechtlinge_in_Griechenland_EN.pdf

http://www.refugeelegalaidinformation.org/greece-pro-bono-directory


Italy
 

The Italian Refugee Council (Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati, CIR) offers the assistance of social and legal workers to asylum seekers and refugees for free. They have offices in several regions in Italy . 

Programma Integra provides a range of services to refugees, including social and legal counseling, job orientation classes, vocational training courses, and Italian language courses. They provide services throughout the country. 

If you're looking for more specialized services, in particular, legal council, these two links might help: 

http://www.refugeelegalaidinformation.org/italy-pro-bono-directory

http://picum.org/en/resources/contacts-of-organisations/links-to-organisations-italy/