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Old 04.10.2020, 15:16
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Helping refugees in Switzerland

Wondering if anyone has any experience volunteering or knowing refugees living in Switzerland? From my understanding, they are taken care of in terms of housing and health care and then monthly support for give or take about 1100-1200 CHF per month for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) depending on the canton they are assigned to for groceries.
How do they receive things like winter clothing, extra food, toiletries, etc? Toys for kids?
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Old 04.10.2020, 15:19
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

One organization to contact:

https://www.fluechtlingshilfe.ch/akt...tlingen-helfen
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Old 04.10.2020, 15:24
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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How do they receive things like winter clothing, extra food, toiletries, etc? Toys for kids?
Charities, mainly.

I helped out at one church a few years ago, when there was a massive influx of asylum seekers.
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Old 04.10.2020, 16:59
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

When people's income is very low such that one qualifies for social assistance, a "social assistance" card (I don't know the name exactly) is also issued which helps the person benefit from reduced prices on things like food, health insurance, transport, libraries (most cost money), swimming pools, shopping at Caritas shops, so basic needs.

For food - Some places have weekly or bi-weekly food distribution centers, privately or officially organized, where one shows the card or if by donation, one donates whatever one can (i.e. 1-5 francs, or whatever) and then take fresh fruits and vegetables. The food available varies weekly, but one can usually take as much as needed, on a first come, first serve basis. One issue I see is when the distribution centers are located too far from those in need (think if you are poor AND disabled), so I could definitely see a need for improvement there.

For clothes - in addition to the Caritas shops where one must pay something, there are organizations that organize clothes "drives". This means that people know these places accept clothes throughout the year, and those in need know that they can drop in at certain times/dates in order to look through for what they need.

Charity organizations accept all sorts of things in very good to good condition - from clothes, to toys, to bikes, to pots and pans, anything. Alternatively, if you know people in need, they will definitely know other people in need, and your things will get to go to a family in need.

If I may advocate for the inclusion of the local population when you offer help, please. Not only refugees are in need of assistance. I know refugees who don't need it anymore, and I know locals who are on assistance. Some areas have a larger poor population than others. Some refugees are better off than the native Swiss, so don't discount helping simply based on where one was born.
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Old 05.10.2020, 00:58
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

Thanks for the replies. I'm looking into a refugee housing center in Balmberg. I only noticed it because I took a post bus up to the Seilpark from Solothurn. The bus ride is about 25 minutes one way. For a refugee to get down to Solothurn to do an type of shopping or line-up somewhere to get supplies would cost them about 7.50CHF for a return trip for each adult. I can just imagine the isolation is horrible-- there is literally nothing up there except the Rope park.
Are all refugee housing centers so remotely located?
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Old 05.10.2020, 07:46
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

Ah yes, I've been up there. Pretty grim. Yes, many centres are isolated. This is partly to encourage people to give up and go home, and partly because it's cheaper than nicer places.
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Old 05.10.2020, 08:44
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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Are all refugee housing centers so remotely located?
Not all of them, it's a cantonal choice. Some chose remote places because of town opposition, availability of cheap big rural buildings and maybe prop up the local village economy as well. During the emergency some rural hotels making good dollars.
In any case with the new law the federal gov't will have big official centres which should have all the ameneties (lawyer, etc.) so this particular issue will be out of local concerns.
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Old 05.10.2020, 09:36
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

I seem to recall that particular centre is a short term holding centre. People are quickly sorted into
  • No
  • Yes
  • Don't know

Once sorted, they move on to other places (and in the case of "no" eventually deported,maybe). "Don't know" processing can take a very long time. Small wonder there's a high proportion of such people with mental health issues.
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Old 05.10.2020, 11:13
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

Don't worry, just work harder and pay more taxes, please:

Nach der Asylwelle: Nun drohen Steuererhöhungen

BTW: The article also says that there are fr 50 of federal help per day per refugee. This is quite higher than net earnings of perhaps half of Swiss 2+2 families.
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Old 05.10.2020, 13:38
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

For households formed by a couple with kids earns on average 13K before taxes, social deductions and health insurance, almost 10K disposable income. https://www.eda.admin.ch/aboutswitze...-ausgaben.html



So, 6K of disposable income for couple with kids is not average. It's quite below average.
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Old 05.10.2020, 21:02
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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For households formed by a couple with kids earns on average 13K before taxes, social deductions and health insurance, almost 10K disposable income.
So, 6K of disposable income for couple with kids is not average. It's quite below average.
According to this stats office spreadsheet:
Haushaltseinkommen und -ausgaben von Paaren mit Kindern nach Einkommensklasse
The couples with children are 24.4% of the total household. (single parent households are 4.2%).
The median gross be 12'074 if I understand the spreadsheet correctly. In Vaud, with taxes for a 2+2 couple, this gives net about 8'865.

6000 net corresponds to about 7600 gross, which corresponds to the poorest 20% of households consisting of couples with children.

Whether the working poor have to be taxed to provide a better life standard to those dependent on social help, is in itself an interesting question...

Last edited by yacek; 05.10.2020 at 21:22.
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Old 05.10.2020, 21:54
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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Whether the working poor have to be taxed to provide a better life standard to those dependent on social help, is in itself an interesting question...
In BL, a family on 60K, with only one working partner and two children, pay 120CHF a year tax. Furthermore, I know people who are on the social help, and no - they're not better off than the workers. Not by any means.
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Old 05.10.2020, 22:41
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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In BL, a family on 60K, with only one working partner and two children, pay 120CHF a year tax. Furthermore, I know people who are on the social help, and no - they're not better off than the workers. Not by any means.
So, they pay no VAT, no old-age/incapacity insurance, no health insurance premiums? Their total deductions would be about 660.
And in BL a family with an equivalent ca 6k net would be earning gross 7200, so 1.2k of deductions.

The deductions are basically taxes, if you consider that a long term social-benefactor will not use their non-existing contributions to substantiate any claims for a retirement pension.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:34
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

I am pretty sure that the choice of housing and all financial issues are negotiated between the federal/cantonal/local authorities, including the local population (i.e. if they protest against something like this or if the population demands a vote on the issue).

To counter the out in the boondocks example: I know a hotel transformed into a refugee center whose location is in the center of the village, and the village is by no means in the middle of nowhere (10 min to Aarau). It is basically where one can find available and suitable accommodation - large enough places, up to code, etc. In the case of the Aarau place, the deal was that the federal taxes pay for the first 5 years of the entire operation, after which the financing is taken over by the canton/village.
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Old 06.10.2020, 14:57
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

Perhaps you could stop by the center and ask how best to volunteer.
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Old 06.10.2020, 15:13
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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So, they pay no VAT, no old-age/incapacity insurance, no health insurance premiums?...
Like you care about the working poor.

Anyway, this thread is about helping poor people who've come here from another country and aren't permitted to work. Stop derailining it. We know you don't like these people, you've proven that often enough!
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Old 06.10.2020, 16:25
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

I have a suggestion for a niche issue assuming that children aren't allowed to go to school until their families obtain certain permits: volunteering to teach kids not only the language, but also reading, writing, Math, and science.

From my understanding, when people arrive here, it can take years for their cases to be processed - so no work for the adults, no schooling for the kids. If a kid arrives here at 6 and their case takes 4 years to be processed until they get accepted, they are already 10, and can't read and write, something we would find unthinkable and unacceptable for a child born here, and even the most intelligent or hardworking child will be at a substantial disadvantage, with lifelong negative impact on their future opportunities. If a preteen or teen arrives, and assuming the same 4 years of paperwork processing, they will be aged out of the school system and end up with very limited literacy, and extremely limited opportunities.
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Old 06.10.2020, 17:32
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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I have a suggestion for a niche issue assuming that children aren't allowed to go to school until their families obtain certain permits:
I'm pretty sure this is not the case. It is fairly established in Swiss law that all children are entitled to an education. I know for sure that there are kids whose parents haven't been regularised who go to school. One of my daughter's friends got deported.... But that was 2011, maybe things have changed. https://www.englishforum.ch/daily-li...-deported.html
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Old 06.10.2020, 21:02
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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I'm pretty sure this is not the case. It is fairly established in Swiss law that all children are entitled to an education. I know for sure that there are kids whose parents haven't been regularised who go to school. One of my daughter's friends got deported.... But that was 2011, maybe things have changed. https://www.englishforum.ch/daily-li...-deported.html
What a sad situation for that kid, and for her classmates.

I personally know the two cases I described, and how people can fall through the cracks, and I am sure this can be prevented by people looking to do good. In the case where the child was too old to catch up, when time came, the person went to Realschule, while the sibling having been very young and able to start in first grade, got into Bez/Gymi. The case of the teen who aged out of the compulsory school system - that was a very strange and unfair situation. The child was signed up for competitive sports, but could not be put in school. When the child's thyroid had to be removed, it stopped the sports career/path, and they were too old to get into school. How about that for a #%#-ed up situation and limited life opportunities?
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Old 07.10.2020, 08:35
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Re: Helping refugees in Switzerland

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I have a suggestion for a niche issue assuming that children aren't allowed to go to school until their families obtain certain permits: volunteering to teach kids not only the language, but also reading, writing, Math, and science.

From my understanding, when people arrive here, it can take years for their cases to be processed - so no work for the adults, no schooling for the kids. If a kid arrives here at 6 and their case takes 4 years to be processed until they get accepted, they are already 10, and can't read and write, something we would find unthinkable and unacceptable for a child born here, and even the most intelligent or hardworking child will be at a substantial disadvantage, with lifelong negative impact on their future opportunities. If a preteen or teen arrives, and assuming the same 4 years of paperwork processing, they will be aged out of the school system and end up with very limited literacy, and extremely limited opportunities.
FB, kids go or have/are allowed to go to school regardless of their parent's status. But there can be huge gaps between local kids and refugee kids, as some of them come from places with totally different education systems (if they even went to school in their native lands). I think tutoring and organising activities together - cooking classes, sport events etc. is one of the best way to help, I have friends who do that. Unfortunately I don't know what's feasable anymore during covid-19.
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