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Integrating refugees


The International Rescue Committee is supporting government and local nonprofit agencies in Germany as they assist more than 1 million people fleeing conflict. We're sharing our expertise in education for refugee children and youth, the special protection needs of women fleeing crisis, and ways to prepare refugees to join the workforce and contribute to their new communities.

Country facts
  • Population: 80 million
  • Number of people seeking asylum since beginning of 2015: 1.1 million
IRC response
  • Started work in Germany: July 2016
  • Provides technical support to German authorities, local aid groups and other partners
  • Focus areas: education, protection from violence, livelihoods

Crisis briefing

In 2015, images of desperate people risking their lives in small, flimsy boats in search of sanctuary in Europe stirred our collective conscience. Germany has since welcomed more than one million people, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, who are seeking refuge from violence. Germany ranks among the ‘top ten’ European host countries in terms of number of asylum-seekers per 1,000 residents.

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Why are refugees arriving in Germany?

While the arrival of refugees was met with an outpouring of philanthropic engagement and volunteer activism on one hand, it has also led to concern over the country’s ability to accommodate and integrate all refugees effectively.

What are the main challenges in Germany?

Despite its robust capacity to help, Germany was caught off guard by the sudden jump in arrivals of people seeking asylum in 2015. At first, communities struggled to accommodate newcomers, and the particular needs of some of the most vulnerable -- for example, women and children -- often went unmet.

As German society turns its attention toward assisting people granted asylum to rebuild their lives, creating programmes that ensure children integrate into the education system and that empower adults to find work and stand on their own feet are key priorities.

How does the IRC help in Germany?

IRC-Deutschland works behind the scenes to strengthen German partners as they help refugees rebuild their lives. We’re sharing with them our 80+ years of experience in assisting refugees and other people seeking asylum, which includes more than four decades of work in refugee resettlement and integration.

For example:

We are helping shelter operators create safe spaces where all refugees feel protected and have the services they need.

We are equipping teachers with the necessary skills to provide safe and positive learning environments for refugee children.

We are also working with local partners to help refugees find jobs and start businesses that enrich their new communities.

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