Syrian national Nabil Jozeph Abou Hamad came to Germany in 2015 with the aim of building a new life here. As the young war refugee finds himself engulfed in dealing with logistical, legal and social problems, none of his plans for professional and personal development have materialized.
Imagine living in shared accommodation with over four hundred people. Imagine sharing a room with somebody from a completely different culture, who doesn’t speak your language and may not be as particular about hygiene as you are. Now imagine going through this ordeal for almost two and a half years. This is what Syrian refugee Nabil Abou Hamad has been going through in Germany.
Nabil migrated to Germany at the beginning of 2015. He was pursuing electrical engineering in the capital Damascus, but when the civil war reached the city too, he decided it was in his best interest to follow in the footsteps of the hundreds and thousands of other Syrians and seek a safer future in Europe.
Shortcomings in refugee accommodation centres
The 27-year-old Syrian refugee is happy to have found stability and security in Germany, but is not entirely satisfied with the facilities provided to asylum seekers and the mechanism to integrate them. “I am currently living in an accommodation which houses almost four hundred people,” he told InfoMigrants. He added that there is one toilet for roughly thirty people and one kitchen for almost sixty people. Nabil said, “this kind of accommodation is okay for a short stay, but I have been stuck in this situation for over two and a half years.”
According to the young asylum seeker, when such a large number of people are sharing basic facilities such as a kitchen and toilet, there are bound to be quarrels and friction. Not to forget, these are people who have been living in camps since they left their houses in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and are already frustrated about the lack of basic necessities. Of course, all of them came to Europe with very different expectations.
“I am sharing a room with another refugee and I have not been able to sleep properly for almost two years,” Nabil told InfoMigrants. He added, “sometimes I want to sleep and my roommate wants to listen to music. When I want to study, he wants to eat with his friends in the room.”
The reality of sharing a room with somebody from a completely different culture whom you cannot communicate or interact with is much harsher than it sounds, Nabil says. He is becoming more and more discontent. "If you keep on blowing in more and more air in a balloon, eventually it will blow up,” said Nabil.
Nabil has expressed his frustration to the immigration authorities, but with the shortage of housing in almost all German cities, he hasn’t been offered a solution. He himself has been trying to land a job and seek accommodation with a host family or a relatively smaller shared apartment, but all those efforts have borne no result as yet.
On top of that, Nabil still has not gotten a final decision on his asylum application.
Lack of perspectives
Nabil Abou Hamad is young and wants to move on with his life in Germany. Though he has relatives in Denmark, he opted for Germany as the country has an aging population and is in need of young migrants. Also because the profession he is pursuing is in demand in Germany - Nabil still wishes to finish his studies in engineering.
However, his plans to progress professionally and build a family in Germany have failed up until now. “I am 27. I want to study and finish my degree. I want to get married and build a family. I want a job with which I can support myself and my family. I did not come here to spend time in a refugee center, fill up forms and papers and visit offices all the time,” said Nabil.
Christian refugees not ‘advantaged’ in asylum process
Nabil told InfoMigrants that the impression that Catholic Christian refugees are ‘advantaged’ in Germany or Europe is incorrect. “There is a Facebook group of Syrian Christian refugees in Germany. You can visit that page and see that almost everybody is having to deal with the same issues like everybody else. In other words: accommodation, legal scenarios, difficulties in finding employment and language,” Nabil told InfoMigrants.
Nabil Abou Hamad wrapped up the conversation by stating that the refugee crisis in itself is gigantic in proportions and shall not be further complicated on religious lines.
The Syrian refugee has recently been told that the accommodation that he is living in is being closed in four months time and all the inmates will be moved to an indoor Basketball court. He signed off saying, “I really need to ponder over whether the decision to come to Germany was worth it or not?”