Many ecovillages and communities have started to support refugees – to give language classes, help with integration, or simply give them space to live. ‘Heilhaus Kassel‘ is a spiritual community and a place for social care in the poorest part of the German town of Kassel, in the middle of a social hotspot. It was founded by Ursa Paul who, 25 years ago, had the dream of a house that offers a place for being born, living and dying. Today, the Heilhaus network has more than 800 members, runs projects for integral health, birth houses, more generation hospices, and schoosl and kindergardens for children with special needs and qualities. This year, Heilhaus started to host refugees. Alfred Hohmann reports.
In this moment Sara plays with her 8 month old son. Her husband, Amir, has just started his job as housekeeper of Heilhaus and is repairing a door. The family lives in a 3 room apartment which was given to them by Heilhaus community.
After her long journey from Eritrea through Sudan and Libya, they arrived as boat people in Italy in 2014. They nearly died of thirst in the desert, were attacked in Libya, mistreated in prison, and nearly drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. After their arrival in a intermediate camp they came to Kassel in 2015.
In this moment, in the same house two floors above, Omer and his wife decorate their apartment which was given to them by Heilhaus. Three weeks ago, the midwive of Heilhaus helped them to give birth to their baby. Many members of Heilhaus helped to collect the things that the baby and its parents need. And there are Abay and his wife, also from Eritrea, as well as Hana and Naom.
In this moment, Aischa and Abdul receive visitors from their home, from Somalia. The apartment is filled with laughter. Aischa has a bone illness and needed a special flat. Now she feels better, and she is pregnant. The two of them were promised to each other from early youth and have found each other again in Italy, after they each had escaped separately on long journey during which they were captured and tortured. The trauma of their journey can still be felt. They are afraid to go outside. Their distrust towards strangers has reached a point that they are not able to live on their own and most probably will have to move into a community of other refugees from Somalia.
In this moment, Bruni, Cordula, Dietlind and Sarah from the Heilhaus Community are discussing the needed care measures. When can Jon go to the children´s group? How about the German language course for Sara? Who will accompany Aischa to the doctor? Which midwive can care for Abdul´s wife? Who carries the costs, who will help to do the office work? And much more.
In this moment, the friends of Heilhaus are gathered in their meeting which takes place every two weeks. Bruni and others report about their encounters and work with refugees. The community listens and is mainly touched by the fates, but also the gratitude of the people whom we could offer a safe space in our midst.
Alfred Hohmann, Kassel
More about Heilhaus: http://heilhaus.org