My short bio: I used to be a teacher, but started working with refugees about 6 months ago in a smallish town in Bavaria. I and my coworkers at the moment supervise 30 boys from Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan and Bangladesh in two different living groups.

My Proof: I did a similar ama once in the German Version of this subreddit and sent sufficient proof to the mods there: https://www.reddit.com/r/de_IAmA/comments/34k94n/ama_ich_betreue_unbegleitete_minderj%C3%A4hrige/

I am happy to send more proof to the mods here, but I don't want to show pictures of the boys to the general public.

Edit: If you have questions for the boys, I can of course forward them to them.

Edit #2: wow, according to a lot of guys I am the Antichrist himself who wants to destroy Western civilization. Thanks for the kind words from the non-racists though

Comments: 1260 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

not_shadowbanned_yet165 karma

Is Germany really the nearest “safe country”? What’s your opinion of people who say these are economic refugees who want to live off German welfare?

BavarianStallion215 karma

Maybe not the nearest safe country, but certainly the richest.

I'm afraid some of them really are. They have been told their entire life that the West is a magical place where milk and honey flow in the rivers.Their traffickers also made them a lot of promises. So they come here with huge expectations which we can't meet because we are on a really tight budget. One boy told me that he doesn't want to work because the German state after all pays for all of his expenses.

The majority is just glad that they got out of the hellholes they came from. Many have scars all over their bodies, one guy misses an eye, another one has a gunshot wound. Poverty certainly also was an aspect that led to them coming here, but it is not the only reason.

toodrunktofuck41 karma

My wife is a German doctor and works with a voluntary group in order to medically support people with no residence permit. She is fed up and about to quit for they are absolutely clogged with demands from people to have their most inane shit "treated". You wouldn't believe it. If you tell them that their ingrowing toe nail, corvus or running nose is not a particularly good reason to spend their tight budget on they call you a racist for denying them treatment. Some even become violent over that bullshit.

BavarianStallion18 karma

I understand, some of my boys also are hypochondriacs.

alphager125 karma

Why are the minors unaccompanied?

BavarianStallion255 karma

Because their parents are either dead or they only had enough money to send one family member. Traffickers take thousands of dollars to take a single person to Europe.

FantasticalDragons83 karma

Fellow German here. First off, I think it's great that you're helping them out; they have it so hard and I would hope that people from other countries would show such hospitality in return should a situation occur in our country on par with that happening over there.

As for my question, I would like to ask: What can the rest of us do to help? I'm still in an apprenticeship and I live nowhere near the borders so financial and physical assistance could be tricky, but I have become aware of the fact that people are still trying to burn down the establishments built for the refugees. Is there anything going on to find the people/group responsible for this because it seems to be happening all over the country and I find it despicable. In my town we have a decent bit of empty housing but I don't have a single clue how high the rent is or how that would work if I went to our mayor to make a suggestion or something.

Again, thank you for all you've done and best wishes!

BavarianStallion35 karma

It seems to me that your positive attitude towards those folks is enough help.

YourLocalHooker55 karma

What are the housing conditions like for the refugees?

BavarianStallion106 karma

They are "lucky" that they are unaccompanied minors. They have it way better than adults who often live in crowded camps or maybe even in tents. We live in a house and two boys respectively have to bunk together in one room. We have a garden, two kitchens, a huge living room with TV. Couldn't be better.

DJfunkyGROOVEstar20 karma

Why are there still asylum seekers living in tents in sought-after cities (Munich) when there are so many vacant flats in Eastern Bavaria? Wouldn't it be more economical for the big cities to outsource and pay for accommodation elsewhere?

BavarianStallion49 karma

Bureaucracy I'm afraid. We are in Germany after all :/

0xDAB55 karma

Where are all of the boys counterparts (girls)? Is there another group that is girls only or are there no girls?

BavarianStallion125 karma

There are almost no girls. Families wouldn't send a girl on the way alone because something might happen to them. Also, this might sound a bit harsh, but when they only have enough money to send one child they rather choose a son.

Doctor_Fate47 karma

Hey thanks for this. What do you find the average German's opinion is on immigration in your small Bavarian town? I hear that Bavaria is pretty conservative and doesn't want refugees.

BavarianStallion101 karma

The average Germans here are pretty divided on that topic. Most welcome refugees from war-torn countries but people who "only" come here to escape poverty from for example states of the Balkans are often frowned upon.

A small minority wants all gone, they argue that we have enough problems of our own and shouldn't waste money on people who they think abuse our social security system.

In general I was really surprised about the outpour of help from the community. A lot of people donate clothes and their time to help. Our neighbours for example gave us an old foosball table and a sofa.

GodofthetwoRivers44 karma

How hard is the road to get to Europe? Is there much abuse that goes on?

BavarianStallion80 karma

Depends how much money you have. Some of the Boys come from rather well off families and spent only a few weeks on the road, the others needed up to one year to make their way from Afghanistan to Germany.

What most Boys talk about is how often they had to go to bed hungry. Some tell that they got abused by local Police in different countries.

akrut28 karma

Abused in what way (physically, emotionally, sexually)?

BavarianStallion67 karma

Some of them told me that they were beaten, most don't want to talk about this at all. A lot of them certainly are traumatized and urgently need a therapy.

peetdk9 karma

Do they get help when they are traumatized? Many of them must have PTSD, and will never really have a normal life?

BavarianStallion26 karma

Yes, but they have to wait up to 6 months to see a therapist.

kaiser__soze40 karma

I'm an American living in Germany. A couple of weeks ago I was on a train here late at night and a 12-13yo African girl sat down with me. Soon after the train moved the ticket agent came by and this girl had no ticket or papers. The agent called forward to the next big city and asked the Polizei to stand by for her. For the 45 minutes it took to arrive, he and his partner berated her, though it was very apparent from the outset that she spoke only her native tongue. I felt so torn apart for her, and if I'd been in the U.S. I might have said something but given the language barrier and my own status, I stayed quiet. Can you tell me what would have happened to this girl after she was taken off of the train?

bountyraz48 karma

There's a good chance she was brought to the refugee camp she might already have been heading to. I've heard from a friend who occasionally works for the Bahn (german railway operator) that when refugees are being send to other (bigger, with more capacity) refugee camps they are often just told to get on a train to there and don't get any tickets, because it doesn't really matter and they'll end up in the camp anyway.

It sucks, but then again I guess the officials responsible are overburdened with the growing numbers of refugees lately.

BavarianStallion54 karma

Yes, she was brought to a camp where she was screened. So the police took her personal Information, a doctor examined her and an interpreter asked her how she got here and why she escaped.

So nothing bad happened to her, don't be alarmed.

roukanalae38 karma

Do the boys have any real chance of having a normal life in the years to come?

BavarianStallion74 karma

If they work hard they have the chance to live a normal life. Some of them are slackers who don't make any effort at all to learn the German language. They will have a really hard time in the future.

Others also may be deported when they turn 18. We have a boy from Bangladesh here who might be gone in October. Also, Afghanistan is considered to be a safe country of origin, sounds crazy, right? So the Afghans might have to go to.

Coming back to the question: the younger ones have enough time to go to school, get a job and lead a normal life. The older they are the harder it will be.

shitlord_lucan52 karma

Why would they go all that way just to make no effort at all once they get there? Do you think this is the indicative of the perception that the European countries they specifically try to get to (not the first they come across) have overly generous welfare systems that don't require you to work in order to survive?

BavarianStallion36 karma

Yes, but it really is a very small minority.

Awkward-Bear10 karma

So what do you do with them?

BavarianStallion37 karma

We show them pictures of overcrowded camps and tell them that we will send them there if they act up.

We also tell them that their asylum application might be denied if they don't show the will to be a productive part of Society.

rsahk36 karma

What do you hate the most about your job?

BavarianStallion32 karma

The workload. We are desperately looking for more staff while every week more and more refugees arrive.

bo_tem_mel34 karma

How did you start? What's the biggest challenge that faces you every day? EDIT: wording

BavarianStallion50 karma

Well I didn't get a decent teaching position so I applied for this job. Since we are basically overrun by refugees, qualified personell is sparse and anybody with an educational background will be hired.

The biggest challenge I'd say is to find something useful to do for the boys. They are not allowed to work and just today the holidays started so they won't go to school for 6 weeks. So we have to make sure that they won't get cabin fever.

PeacefulTreeLand20 karma

Would it be useful to connect to Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts or something similar? They already have activities designed to engage and teach boys in more fun and playful ways. It might be a good way to also help build a bridge socially between these boys and the other local boys.

BavarianStallion32 karma

We have already reached out to a lot of local sports clubs. Some of them now play soccer with German boys, other play Handball or Badminton

Sygma625 karma

How is the language barrier crossed? I assume the refugees left their origin countries for economic reasons and wonder if education issues would hamper communication.

BavarianStallion47 karma

When they first arrived we used the few boys who knew some English as interpreters. Since they go to school and learn German it gets easier over time.

SexbassMcSexington24 karma

What is your opinion on other countries handling of the refugee crisis?

I personally think that ours (UK) is horrendous, barely letting anyone through. There was a story on our local news, where a boy came over when he was young (around 8 years old I think) and was placed into a foster family, he has a full time job now at 18, but is being forcibly deported back to Afghanistan, despite the fact he has a job and no connection with his former country, effectively condemning him to a life of homelessness like many others who are deported despite having a life in the UK. That story just sickened me.

BavarianStallion52 karma

I think the refugees should be evenly distributed over Europe. It simply can't be that countries like Greece, Italy or even Germany are abandoned by some members of the European Union (I'm looking at you UK).

Apart from that I think everybody is doing the best they can in this circumstances.

PIank22 karma

How old are the boys you accompany?

BavarianStallion69 karma

Oficially between 14 and 17. Some of them are without a doubt way older but lie about their age. It is a little bit suspicious that so many boys claim to be born on January the first 1999.

mishka_shaw20 karma

Hi, sounds like you are doing some great work with those kids, I have a question that has been on my mind for a while which I hope you can answer.

With regards to Refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe I always wondered why so few of them don't seem to settle at the first European country they reach (Italy, Turkey, Greece .etc) and instead risk a futher journey into the more northern states, is there a particular reason for this?

BavarianStallion35 karma

The Greeks and Italians don't want all of them in their countries. The Italians put them in trains and ship them to us.

Iwritestuff_18 karma

What do they dream about becoming or doing when they grow up?

BavarianStallion38 karma

Most of them want to become car mechanics or work in retail. The gifted ones want to be doctors or lawyers.

Iwritestuff_13 karma

What's the likelihood that any of these will be achievable? Do they have any reason to be hopeful?

BavarianStallion46 karma

One of our boys just learned that he is allowed to indefinitely stay here, he started attending High School and his family is joining him here in a few weeks.

DontHasselTheHoff16 karma

I know that in Sweden a lot of the people who claim to be children actually aren't. It's just an easier way to get permanent asylum so once they reach Sweden they will throw away their passports and say that they are 17. I've seen cases where it's laughable. Some of the people look like they could be in their late 20ies to early 30ies but there is no real way of discerning age so it's accepted at face value. My question is, does this happen everywhere or is it unique for Sweden?
It pisses me off because then the people who REALLY need the protection have no chance of getting it, which really is my problem with massive scale asylum seeking anyway. It's not the worst-off people who manage to get here. In the vast majority of cases it seems to be people who come from well-off families who aren't in real need of asylum. Another question, I've heard that for a fraction of the cost of one asylum seeker in Germany or Sweden, the red cross could help countless people in the actual area where they fled from. Wouldn't this be a more logical solution?

BavarianStallion3 karma

I have talked about this before:

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3faghx/iama_german_who_works_with_unaccompanied_minor/ctn5d1x?context=3

Sure, I don't want to talk about numbers but this kind of money could do a lot in their countries

werschaf16 karma

Hi! German here! Are there any formal requirements you have to fulfill for this job? I've been thinking about trying to get into this job, but I don't have any experience in that area.

BavarianStallion20 karma

You need an educational background. Sozialpädagoge, Erzieher, Heilerzieher, Lehrer, etc.

N30G3N15 karma

What are their personalities and values like? I imagine they're very different from Americans, who I live around.

BavarianStallion32 karma

A teenager from Afghanistan is not so different from a teenager in Germany. They are petulant, chase after girls and never put their smartphones out of their hands.

4fsake17 karma

They get smartphones?

BavarianStallion22 karma

It often is their only possession, and they are really old models. We don't give phones to them.

Jerem1ah_EU15 karma

We have refugees in our town too. A family member who is a police officer said that organised crime members go to the refugees and teach them how to pickpocket people. Do your boys get involved with crime?

BavarianStallion16 karma

We are lucky that we are in a rather small rural town. So there is way less bad influence around compared to cities like Hamburg or Berlin.

sweetoldetc14 karma

As an American in Germany who speaks basically fluent German, are there opportunities for me to volunteer with or assist organizations like yours in their work? I have always been very interested in supporting and assisting refugee populations in Germany.

BavarianStallion17 karma

Sure, we always welcome volunteers who come by to talk to the boys or play games with them. Just ask at the local Landratsamt or the Diözese.

roseyrosey13 karma

What's the name of the organization? I have a friend who I believe would be very interested in this type of work.

BavarianStallion24 karma

I work for the county. The Caritas also is in this line of work.

Chanz12 karma

I've recently moved to Munich and see beggars on every corner. My girlfriend says they are assigned streets by their bosses and they have to share what they get from people who pass by. Is this true? Where can you give money that actually helps refugees?

BavarianStallion20 karma

These beggars I think are mostly from countries like Bulgaria or Romania.

You can give money to the Caritas or the Red Cross, it is in good hands there.

lasercard10 karma

Do they want to go to England?

BavarianStallion38 karma

No, most want to stay here, some want to go to Scandinavia.

TENRIB13 karma

Dont any want to return home?

BavarianStallion30 karma

Not a single one. They want their families to join them here.

Myngz7 karma

Why Scandinavia?

Also: Netter Name für n Lehrer. Ich hoffe mal nicht Grundschule :P

BavarianStallion29 karma

They have been told that Scandinavia is some kind of paradise for refugees.

Tanimal159 karma

How do you cope with the chaos? I may be largely ignorant so correct me if I am wrong, but to my understanding, there is rife armed conflict in the countries you've mentioned. What and how do you establish a routine in such conditions?

BavarianStallion14 karma

Establishing a routine helps them to cope so this really isn't an issue because they gladly accept most of the rules we impose. The cultural differences though make it really hard to teach them some basic German manners.

minnabruna5 karma

What type of manners are difficult to reach for cultural reasons?

BavarianStallion10 karma

Table manners and recycling. Especially the Afghans have a hard time understanding that it is not okay throwing their trash around everywhere

EggCouncilCreeper8 karma

What have been some of the more stark stories that you have come across?

BavarianStallion29 karma

One boy lost his family in an earthquake years ago. He moved in with an uncle who abused him and wanted to marry him to his apparently hidious daughter. So he escaped.

Other boys talk about the way they were threatened by the Taliban. One of them was shot by the Taliban and still has a visible scar, another one has a scar from being hit with the butt of a rifle.

We of course can't verify if these stories are true, but considering the way they behave, they certainly had a hard time back home.

TheophrastusBmbastus7 karma

How did the boys you work with react to the video of Kanzlerin Merkel that went viral a few weeks ago, in which she so awkwardly interacted with a young refugee? More generally, how attuned are the children you work with to German politics?

BavarianStallion18 karma

They haven't seen it and generally don't seem to be interested in German politics.

EmbracetheSwine7 karma

Can you, like every German I've met, open a beer with literally anything?

BavarianStallion14 karma

Yes, it's a genetic trait of German males.

agirlandhergame7 karma

American in Bavaria here! Since there is a large influx of refugees into Germany right now, what do you expect to happen to the resources currently available? Are there preparations by the landkreis to handle more refugees? There seems to be no end in sight for the numbers of people coming. Are there camps for girls/women?

BavarianStallion7 karma

We are taking measures. The county is looking for new housing options all the time and we try to hire more staff. Money is tight though, we need more help from the federal and the Bavarian governments.

ottokat7 karma

How do they know to go to Germany? Who told them it was a good place to go and how much do the know about Germany?

Blobskillz13 karma

basically the trafficers sell them the story of paradise on earth in europe

BavarianStallion12 karma

Indeed.

They know next to nothing about Germany.

DeeJayDelicious7 karma

What is your view on the whole immigration debate? How do you deal with the massive influx of refugees, do you think it's sustainable and what course of action (if any) do you support?

Also, what political or bureaucratic change would have the most positive impact for your work?

BavarianStallion20 karma

Well, countries like Turkey host way more refugees than any European country, so we will manage. I think we are only battling the symptoms, the best way of action is to improve the living conditions in the countries they are fleeing from.

The bureaucratic change I'd like to see most is that they should be allowed to work or take internships.

aparadeofmidgets4 karma

First of all, thank you for the work you're doing. I think it's very admirable that people like you are willing to put in the effort to try to make these peoples' lives better.

Have the boys described anything about the circumstances in which they were trafficked? How much it cost, what routes they took, that sort of thing? Especially after having seen some of the terrible things that sea-borne migrants in the Mediterranean have risked, I've always been interested in some of the more "nuts and bolts" aspects of how someone gets from point A to point B.

BavarianStallion11 karma

The Afghans all came through Iran, Turkey, Greece, the Balkans, Hungary and Austria or the Czech Republic. The Syrians took a similar route, except Iran of course. The traffickers took up to 8000 or 9000 Dollar.

Those who couldn't afford this hitchhiked or walked huge distances. They stayed for months in camps in Iran or Turkey, took jobs to support themselves and often weren't payed at all.

Pastries3 karma

Are they allowed to travel freely around Germany/the EU?

Do they go to school, or get any sort of education?

Can they do any sort of part-time work? Do they get any direct monetary benefits?

BavarianStallion4 karma

They are allowed to travel in Germany after a few months when they get particual papers. They can't go to different countries.

Yes, they are in German class Monday - Friday.

They get an allowance every week.

relee18653 karma

Elsewhere in the thread, you mentioned that most of the refugee are 14-17 but some are undoubtedly older and concealing their age. Does it concern you that these refuges are in or are soon entering the most crime-prone age/sex demographic (18-35 year old male). Combined with their foreign and violent background and what could reasonably be projected to be a low income achievement, do you worry that these refugees could form a new criminal class going forward?

BavarianStallion2 karma

There are one or two who really leave me worried about this. All we can do is try to smack some sense into their heads.

EddTurner3 karma

What are the biggest differences to your work as a Lehrer? Did you ever imagine the work would captivate you so much? As of tomorrow, I will finally be a qualified Erzieher. How does the work compare to the job of a Hortner in a Grundschule?

BavarianStallion4 karma

The hours are certainly different. I often have to work on the weekends or stay over the night. But when I leave my workplace, I don't have to grade tests or prepare lessons which is nice.

I knew the Job would be demanding, but it also has a lot of nice moments.

I don't know what a Hortner is ;)

den_stive_pirat3 karma

Have problems ever arisen between boys of different nationalities?

BavarianStallion9 karma

Yes, Afghans apparently hate Pakistani and vice versa. But when they got to know each other better this wasn't really a problem anymore.

The Syrians also had some kind of feeling of superiority over the other boys because they were better educated and were overall better adjusted to Western manners. The Afghans really don't like this kind of smugness and we had physical confrontations because of that.

But you can't in general expect that everybody gets along just fine, there always will be some Tension.

calvinironfist4 karma

Tell us more about these physical confrontations and verbal spats? To what degree were these confrontations physical? Surely you have some anecdotal stories you can share with us

BavarianStallion8 karma

It is basically always the same two boys. The Afghan guy is an analphabet and has a really hard time learning German. He is very self-conscious about it and the only coping mechanism he has when he gets into an argument is punching. The Syrian guy doesn't simply like him and provokes him often

AllAboutMeMedia2 karma

Do think the boys, as a mandatory requirement for citizenship, should work a few years helping other refugees in this same situation?

BavarianStallion3 karma

Sounds like a great idea!

LiquidateThis2 karma

It is nice that you are able to assist these children. Has the government of Germany set a quota for refugees?

BavarianStallion5 karma

Yes, every County in bavaria has to accomodate a certain amount of refugees. The brunt of refugees though comes to Bavaria, we need to spread them out more evenly over Germany.

lambeo2 karma

How possible is for a person from the Balkans that has left for solely economical reasons to win asylum in Germany ?

I know some people that have left (20 to 30 years old) and they say that they are getting some allowance and that there's a good chance that they will win their asylum. I'm baffled by this because in the news they're always saying that there's absolutely no chance to win an asylum for economical reasons

BavarianStallion3 karma

Almost impposible, I think those people don't tell the truth.

Leliamuse2 karma

Is your name Annabel Richter?

BavarianStallion4 karma

I am a guy

picklemepansy1 karma

As a Finn living in Germany, this kind of a job interests me. Do you think it would be difficult for a woman to work in this field? Also, are the wages as poor as I imagine?

BavarianStallion3 karma

The wages are ok. A lot of my coworkers are female and the boys listen to them and take them seriously. You only have to watch what you are wearing. The boys are quite shy and don't like too provocative clothing.

TheYoui1 karma

Hello Syrian here, Working with what I'm guessing is a lot of Syrians, what opinions have you formed about us? And also thank you for all that you are doing.

BavarianStallion2 karma

The boys from Syria I met are all well mannered and quite educated. They made a really good impression on me.