On Tuesday 19th of September the whole Tansania exchange group went to the town hall to meet Mr. Pörksen, the Staatsrat of Labor, Social Affairs and Integration. His schedule is always busy with meetings, speeches and visits. Furthermore, he often talks to groups, like us, or has business trips to Berlin. Pörksen said he really enjoys his job, especially because he has the chance to interact with many people and to listen to their opinions.
We met him in the impressive Phoenix Room to talk about political issues especially of the youth. Our main topic was the integration of young refugees.
Firstly, we asked him what the major challenges are regarding integration of young people and how he and the senator try to overcome them. We learnt that for the integration of young people it is most important that they can go to school (or child care for the younger ones) from the first day on so that they on the one hand learn German really fast and on the other hand they lateron get all a chance to have an apprenticeship or go to university after school. Furthermore, what the state is doing for refugees at the moment is provide housing because there are still 35 000 refugees living in public shelters so around 10 000 new apartments are being built for them every year.
Next up, we asked Mr. Pörksen how can we young people help to integrate the refugees. He said that the main aspects are to be open, welcome them and make contact. Also we can talk to other people such as neighbours and convince them that together we are going to handle the situation. We can also more directly donate clothes, furniture, toys, etc. or encourage having a refugee class at our school.
Our project topic during the exchange was “political participation and empowerment of the youth” so we also asked Mr. Pörksen about his opinion of youth participating in politics. He answered that he thinks it is very important that youth participates because a society has to work for democracy everyday. Many do not realize how powerful they are and what they can achieve. Therefore, also youth has to work for democracy by engaging into youth councils, youth organisations of parties but also in school or university organisations. Moreover, the parties always need the next generation of politicians so it is important that there are young, engaged and motivated people.
Finally, our question was how refugees can participate in politics and the answer was that to really participate in German politics they have to become a German citizen but even before that they can volunteer for NGOs or participate on a more local level in councils of the public shelters or different youth organisation for example of schools.
All in all we had a very interesting meeting with Mr. Pörksen and we learnt a lot about our topic “political participation and empowerment of the youth” and also about integration. Therefore, we would like to thank Mr. Pörksen very much for the warm welcome and the great talk!
Carlotta (S3/4) und Chiara (S1/2)
Mehr zur Schulpartnerschaft mit der Kiluvya Secondary School in Tansania: http://www.hlg-hamburg.de/unesco-tansania/