Guilty or indebted

Last week I was in conversation with an employee of the social welfare office. The man explained to me that many Eritreans have debts already at a young age. The amount of money would be rather small, but it affects many people. He asked me if I knew what the reason was.

I started to think about it. Of course language plays a big role. People who do not react to letters do not understand their content from the beginning. There are big differences within the German language. Many people do not understand bureaucratic German. Maybe it would be better if the letters for people who are new in the country were written in simple language.
One problem with language courses is that people sometimes only learn German at school. That is only three to four hours of German a day. But you also learn the language in everyday life. Without contacts to Germans it is difficult – but there are possibilities.

My tip: I know clever people, they have watched many films in German or listened to German radio at home. That helped them a lot to really understand the language. Until someone understands the language, the person sometimes has to seek help. If you are too shy, you can always go with a friend who speaks German a little better. Because there are many advice centres in Chemnitz, so people can also use this help.

Photo: Jean Pascal

Another problem is that some people have already incurred debts while fleeing. Because they had to borrow money or were blackmailed. When they are in Germany, for example, the smugglers want the money immediately. People get calls that siblings who are still in Libya or Sudan will be killed if the debts are not paid. These threats are real. That is why people try to pay the money quickly – they cannot think of themselves.

And it’s true: some simply have to support their families and send money abroad. It is of course important to help the family, but if they don’t need it to survive, people should also think of themselves. First they would have to organize their own life in Germany and then try to help. If they attend the integration course and find a job, they can better support the family with much more money. Even if it costs more time, it is the better solution in the long run. Because debts only bring more problems, in the end people could even go to prison.

I hear many people saying that there is no work for them in Chemnitz. But sometimes it is also because people have not learned the language enough. Because when I search the internet, I see many job advertisements. My working life also began with an internship, in which I learned a lot. To find a full-time job afterwards, you can also go this way. Looking ahead and not just looking at past mistakes – this is the only way to develop.

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