Cities that say ‘Yes!’ - Celebrating ‘Save Me’
‘Save Me: A City Says Yes!’ is a German campaign that aims to create local support for and involvement in refugee resettlement in regions, cities and towns throughout Germany. ‘Save Me’ recruits local people as volunteers who pledge their time to support resettled refugees after they arrive, and campaigns for local and regional authorities to say ‘Yes’ on behalf of their cities. ‘Save Me’ began in Munich in 2008, and now has active branches in just under 60 German cities and towns. The campaign made a central contribution to the resettlement of 2500 Iraqi refugees in Germany from 2009-11, the success of which was instrumental in the establishment of the new German programme to receive 300 resettled refugees per year from 2012.
In July 2012, the work of the North Rhine-Westphalia region ‘Save Me’ campaign was recognised in the national, government-sponsored awards competition "Active for Democracy and Tolerance". The award ceremony and reception took place on July 10th in the historic hall in the City Hall of Cologne, and was attended by ‘Save Me’ volunteer mentors, representatives of Amnesty International, the Catholic Council, ‘Rat und Hilfe’ and the Welthaus.
Together with the Mayor of Cologne, Juergen Roters, the Chair of the Advisory Board of the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance Against Extremism and Violence (BfDT) Christian Petry, and a member of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Bosbach, Dr. Gregory Rosenthal, Head of the Office for BfDT, presented the award to Sabine Kaldorf from the Bonn ‘Save Me’ campaign and Ingeborg Heck-Böckler from Amnesty International in Aachen, on behalf of all the city campaigns in North Rhine-Westphalia. Mr. Petry highlighted the strength of ‘Save Me’ and the contribution the campaigns have made to the region, cities and towns where they operate when he observed that ‘it makes clear what is meant by a welcoming culture’.
Photo Credits: Amnesty International Aachen