NEHEMIAH GATEWAY University
Helping and empowering people to sustainably shape and determine
their lives in dignity and independence
A huge wave of refugees is on the move towards Germany and Western Europe. Anke Neuzerling (Member of the Nehemiah Gateway Advisory Board) interviewed our Managing Director Arnold Geiger and asked about his experience and Nehemiah Gateway’s strategy on how to help best. Read here some of his thoughts:
Anke Neuzerling: At the moment, hundreds of thousands of refugees are coming to Germany – what is your estimation of the current situation?
Arnold Geiger: Right now, especially those refugees from war-torn countries must receive immediate humanitarian help, regardless of where they are. Of course, such help is provided ideally as close as possible to people’s home countries, so they don’t have to set out on the difficult and often perilous journey to Europe. From our experience, people mainly tend to go back to their homeland after a few years – or they seek contact to people who share the same roots – this can also be the case in the foreign countries – i.e. in their new homelands.
Anke Neuzerling: Nehemiah Gateway is active and committed in Albania. In your opinion, how should the situation be handled with respect to the people who come from the Balkans and seek asylum in Germany?
Arnold Geiger: I have been living in Albania since the early 90s and I know the political and social situation there very well. There is no political persecution. The conditions are such that you can build up an existence. But many people still lack a perspective. Therefore, our most important goal – and we have been doing that for almost 25 years now – is to give people the know-how to create their own existence. We already have provided hundreds of people with the basics, by education and training and by assisting in the start-up.
Anke Neuzerling: Is there an encounter that has touched you particularly?
Arnold Geiger: I recall a young man whom I met by chance on a visit to Albania about 2 years ago at our gates, and who was standing there in a suit and tie. His face looked familiar but I couldn’t quite remember. He introduced himself, and I realized that I had only seen him in different clothes in our soup kitchen and school. Now he had come back to thank us for everything, because – as he said – it wouldn’t have been possible for him to have got an education without us and to open up his own business. These are experiences you never forget.