A Berlin-based website Refugees Welcome, described as an ‘Airbnb for refugees’, is helping people fleeing from Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, and Syria, find homes in Germany and Austria. Launched by a couple in November 2014, the website matches asylum-seekers with people willing to share their homes with them.
So far, the website has over 800 German hosts and has placed 134 refugees in homes in Germany and Austria. Those who have opened their homes to refugees include carpenters, PR consultants, single mothers, retirees, and students aged between 21 and 65. Two of the site’s founders, Jonas Kakoschke, 31, and Mareike Geiling, 28, live with 39-year-old Bakari, a refugee from Mali.
Kakoschke told Al Jazeera that this is a chance for refugees to move out of mass housing. “Mass housing is usually placed far outside the main cities which makes it really hard for the refugees to participate in German society. They are excluded and isolated, usually somewhere in a village or in small cities,” he said.