dream of a life of peace. My father is from Palestine. I have
always wondered what it would be like to live there. Even in
Damascus we were refugees but it was nice there before the war.
Neighbours and friends would come round every day, we laughed,
chatted and ate orange-coloured rice with meat together. Above our
apartment there was a roof-top terrace with a swing where I used to
play and look up at the stars. When we only look at things around
us, we don't see enough. When we look far up into the sky, we can
see so much more. I want to be an astronaut and discover something
new. When I look up into the sky, I sometimes forget just how much
I've lost. All the people. If I see a shooting star, I make a wish.
Sireen al-Semadi (16) arrived from Syria with her family in 2013
mother was a Christian and my father a Muslim. What's the problem?
We all have the same God. I celebrate Christmas and when it's
Ramadan, I try to fast. Since I've been in Germany, I've been to a
church twice and once to a mosque. My mother died giving birth to me
and when I was five years old my father died as well. The fact that
I'm still alive has only strengthened my faith and makes me think
that I definitely have to achieve something in my life. I'm not
really that religious. There have been lots of situations where I've
needed my parents, just to talk to them. I really want to work but
I'm not allowed to. I can't understand it. When I have a problem, I
don't ask God but my teachers. They help me.
Kamarou Adeniyi (19) from Benin. He arrived in Germany alone in 2013.
the option today, I'd rather die at home in Afghanistan than relive
my journey to Germany. My home never really meant that much to me.
I don't have any good memories of it. Home should be a place where
you're not persecuted and you can live in peace. I've been living in
Bremen for 5 years now. I'm about to start the twelfth grade and get
my Abitur (high
school diploma.) I'm a big Werder Bremen fan and cheer every time
they score. I know Germany is my home but I'm alone. My family now
lives in Iran. They won't come here. In Iran they can speak the
language and so can work. The only photos I had of family I had to
throw into the sea. Everything had to be thrown overboard otherwise
we would've sunk. We even had to bail water out of the boat. I have
Ewaz Babaie (23) from Afghanistan. He arrived in Germany alone in 2010.
want to be a doctor. I've wanted it ever since I was a kid. I like
to look for challenges because I want people to say: "Cynthia did
that!" I like the thought of working in Germany. In Syria it
wouldn't have been a given. There it's clearly defined what a woman
does and what a man does. In Germany it doesn't make a difference.
As a woman here I have to be able to do everything. I have to go on
my own to the bank, the council offices, the job centre. This is
still totally weird for me. My mother never worked in Syria but here
she's thinking about it. All of us have a goal. It's only hard for
my father. He was a businessman in Syria but now he sits in the
refugee home, doesn't understand the language and gets very down. I
hope it passes.
Cynthia Barssimian (19) arrived from Syria with her family in 2014.
can finally sleep again here in Germany. In Syria I couldn't sleep
at all at the end. Everywhere there were terrorists, bombs, war.
All the Syrians want to come to Germany because we believe that
Germany is the nicest and safest country in Europe. The German
people are friendly and speak to us with respect. I know though that
some say that the refugees are not good people. That really worries
me sometimes. But that's rare. I don't think too much about things
ever since I came here. I'm just happy, always happy. On my way to
the main station I even met a girl who was half German, half Italian.
Now we're together. And when we're together, we only speak German.
Hambar al-Husein (18) arrived from Syria with his brothers six months ago.
father was a tailor. He wanted me to study one day. When he died,
we left Afghanistan for Germany. My mother thought my two brothers
and me would have the best chances here. We were separated on the
Turkish-Bulgarian border and only my oldest brother and me got
across. For five months we were waiting for my mother and brother.
For a long time we didn't know where they were or how they were
doing. We now feel safe again. I want to do my Abitur
School Diploma) in Bremen, then study something to do with IT and
find work here in the city. Then we'll be able to stay together and
start a new life. I really hope we can stay here forever.
Mahdi Asgari (17) arrived with his family from Afghanistan in 2014.
Transcripts: Anant Agarwala, Rudi Novotny, Jeannette Otto, Leonie Seifert