6th Council Meeting Elisabeth

My local, weekly commitment with a woman seeking asylum in Switzerland – a win-win-situation
The village of 2000 inhabitants where I live, was assigned to care – among others – for a family of six people from Afghanistan by the federal authorities. I have known the family now for over two years. The eldest ofthe four children is twelve, the youngest 3 years old. The father has recently been allowed to do manual work for the community and to earn a little money.

Every week I study with the mother, who is taking two different German language courses, offered free of charge by volunteer organisations. We do her homework together. She was illiterate, and I am astonished how quickly she gets along with everything.

Again and again I also try to sum up for her the letters the children bring home from school and kindergarten. I practise with her to read the calendar, dates and appointments and the time. Great trust and love has grown between the two of us. She calls me her Swiss mom, and grandmother towards the children. Every time, I leave their flat gratified. From the start it was clear to me that I wanted to work with the mother, for, if a mother is psychically stable, the children profit most directly. After the death of her mother, this woman had to work in a factory sewing clothes, when she was only ten years old.

In our village we have a small group of mostly young people looking afterthe asylum seekers. We advise each other and provide the necessary materials. Somebody was able to find a sewing machine for my “Afghan daughter”.Now she is sewing for her children and girl-friends and is very happy about it.

My motivation for this engagement is my belief that an open, warm new home should be offered to these people, who were forced to leave their homeland and become refugees. In this way I can personally “better” theofficial Swiss position, which is a compromise with those Swiss people who fear the loss of jobs and the Islamic religion. They believe that in oursmall, closely populated country there is no room for more people, meaning first of all refugees and the costs they cause for the state. (I am sure you all know this!)