Welcome to Pangea
Our student initiative was founded in April of 2015 in order to create a platform from which we can further the exchange between people with and without a refugee background. Through this exchange the project promotes the development of solidary relationships and opens up opportunities, where we can learn from and about each other. This way, the project can contribute a small but important part toward the realisation of a truly open society free from prejudice.
Through the exchange between those seeking refuge and those already at home here, we learn of the unmet needs of the refugees, which we then try to help fulfil through the devision of projects aimed at achieving certain goals. Among these projects are our German language courses – held at the campus of Potsdam University, an Arabic language course, home-work assistance, various activities at the communal refugee home „Am Havelblick“, a meet-up for women in Luckenwalde and the compilation of an informational pamphlet. You do not have to be a student in order to support our projects or to volunteer in one – or several at once. We are also open to providing support for your own projects. And lastly, though this ought to go without saying, we also welcome refugees as volunteers at Pangea!
The Idea behind Pangea
About 150 to 300 million years ago all landmass of the earth was found within one huge super-continent. This continent is called Pangea – from the ancient Greek πᾶν pān „whole“ and γαῖα gaia „earth“, so literally it means „whole earth“. Today we live in a world where natural barriers such as seas and deserts, but also artificial barriers such as the outer border of the EU separate the peoples of the earth. But this world is also characterized by the ever strengthening relationships of these separated individuals, be it on a political, economical, cultural, ecological or personal level.
We at Pangea do not want to, and believe that we must not, turn a blind eye toward the grievances prevalent in many parts of the world – many of which are caused directly and indirectly through our own actions as well as our inaction. War, persecution and existential crises force many people to leave their homes to seek refuge elsewhere. We recognise the responsibility that – as we believe – comes with our position, living here, in Germany, and with the possibilities that this opens up to us.
We look around us and see that the people that come to us to seek refuge are often confronted with xenophobia, discrimination and isolation – on top of the everyday challenge of trying to get along in a new country with it’s strange bureaucracy.
We want to work to undo these societal failures. We want to welcome with open arms those who have been displaced. We do not want to place our trust into the hands of mainstream politics with it’s talk of quota, costs and capacities while the guarantee of a basic human right is at stake.
With Pangea we intend to bid welcome the seekers of refuge living in Germany. We also intend to express our solidarity with these people. Futhermore, we want to offer support where it is within our capabilities. It is our goal, to establish a network of lasting cooperations between Potsdam University, the communal refugee homes in and around Potsdam, organisations and initiatives that concern themselves with similar topics, as well as any interested individuals.
With the help of this network we want to create structures that enable all those involved to change the living environment of refugees for the better. Be it through some form of support, or through projects, campaigns or demonstrations that broach this issue and aim to inform the general public. These goals are to be achieved through action in different areas: through education, through the realisation of projects for refugees together with refugees and through transparent external communication as well as networking efforts.
We, together with so many others, do not agree with the restrictive policies of the german authorities and the EU concerning asylum seekers. We condemn the discrimination, which refugees are facing here. The european and german laws that regulate the fates of asylum-seekers and EU-foreigners prevent these people from humanely settling into a life in Germany. The process of claiming their inalienable rights needs to be simplified for all refugees. The barriers that hinder them in actively taking part in society need to be deconstructed and an improvement in their general living conditions has to be guaranteed. Refugees ought to be able to speak up on their own behalves and they should also be able to lead self-determined lives.
Our work as volunteers ought not to have to serve as compensation for the failures and neglect of the federal and state authorities. There is, for example, a shortage of affordable living quarters, as well as a lack of basic german language courses. These issues, in our eyes, prohibit refugees from successfully participating in, and integrating into society. The ability to learn the basics of the german language should therefore be provided for by the federal and state authorities. The looming threat of deportation of our project participants and some of our members is a destructive factor in our work and a drain on our overall motivation. However, in spite of this – or possibly, especially because of this – we hope to create a place of refuge for the refugees and their supporters in creating and maintaining Pangea. In this manner we hope to achieve our goals concerning the exchange, cooperation and solidarity between seekers of refuge and those who were born with the priviledge to a EU-passport.
We condemn all forms of racism, right-wing extremism, xenophobia, hostilities towards people with certain religious believes, sexism and the use of violence. We stand for the open welcoming of refuge seekers, for solidary as well as humane and respectful relationships with each other.
Our hands on efforts are mainly concerned with the creation of educational offers, the provision of advice and consultation, as well as cultural projects. The emphasis hereby is placed on being able to learn from and about one another. We are aware of the responsibilities that come with working together with people as humans. Our main interest lies therefore in the establishment and the long-term perpetuation of consistent projects and offers of support. The possibility of training for our members is an integral part of our work. We want to enable all involved to act in a qualified manner. The cooperation and networking with other institutions is also a cornerstone of our self-perception. A productive exchange of ideas between all groups of different status, and all organizations must be the basis for a long-lived network that can concern itself with the needs of the seekers of refuge in order to realise a welcoming culture, which then in turn facilitates their arrival in and their settling into our society.