Technology Other News 16 Aug 2016 Refugee app to cut a ...

Refugee app to cut across red tape

AFP
Published Aug 16, 2016, 12:49 am IST
Updated Aug 16, 2016, 6:23 am IST
‘Bureaucrazy’ to help refugees with paperwork, German
The team that developed the app comprises six budding programmers from Berlin’s ReDI School of Digital Integration, a non-profit organisation that trains refugees in coding and entrepreneurship.
 The team that developed the app comprises six budding programmers from Berlin’s ReDI School of Digital Integration, a non-profit organisation that trains refugees in coding and entrepreneurship.

Berlin: Interminable queues, impenetrable paperwork, unpronounceable German words — the hurdles for any newcomer to Europe’s top economy can be daunting but now there’s an app for that, says a team of enterprising Syrian refugees. It’s called Bureaucrazy, after the often Kafkaesque process of getting housing, health care and a bank account, not to mention seeking asylum. The team is made up of six budding programmers from Berlin’s ReDI School of Digital Integration, a non-profit organisation that trains refugees in coding and entrepreneurship.

“I was shocked by the long waits in line and when I first arrived, I waited two weeks for a paper called ‘Kostenuebernahme’ — it’s a permission for staying in an apartment or hotel at state expense,” said one of the developers, 30-year-old Omar Alshafai. “Also when I signed the paper — it was in German — we didn’t know what we were signing,” said Alshafai, who came from Damascus in April 2015.

 

The thicket of red tape facing Germany’s refugees was highlighted last month by a Chinese backpacker who made global headlines after he accidentally signed an application for asylum when he lost his wallet. He was only able to sort out the mistake and retrieve his passport after spending 12 days in a refugee shelter. Even Germans they asked for help were often bewildered by the jargon of official correspondence. 

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