Mixing heaven and hell always results in a great cocktail

Abdallah Nemer
From Lebanon
4 years in Hamburg
Student & refugee coach @ Aqtivus

Which one is you in this photo? Where are you guys hanging out?

I’m the one with the hat being carried. It’s quite an old photo, but we still as good as we did back then! It was taken in Bratislava. We were on a trip to Vienna to visit a friend, and then we decided to explore Bratislava for a night of good times. A night that we will always remember: it was good that each of us knew part of the story, so putting it all together created an unforgettable experience. Actually, maybe we should put smiley faces on the other ones in the photo, you never know when you’ll run for president!

But now you’re a real saint, right? What are you doing with Aqtivus?

I was working as an interpreter for refugees at the reception center in the Feuerbergstrasse. One thing led to another and I landed with Aqtivus. We work in a team of different bilingual colleagues and each of us helps the refugees either in their mother tongue or in German. We try to be a bridge between the city’s Jobcenter and the refugees’ daily obstacles, so that we can ensure them a better perspective in Germany. Okay – it sounds more exciting than it is: what we actually do for example is help them learn German faster, by contacting the schools and signing them up, helping them with their CVs and the whole process of applying for apprenticeships, university and jobs. But also with simple things, like translating a letter, finding a flat in Hamburg – which we all know is fun – and stuff like that. Like most jobs, it can be interesting at times, and others you just want to jump off the balcony – if your workplace has one, that is! It involves a lot of paperwork, which is a shame for all the trees. But when you work together and achieve a breakthrough and see a satisfied look on someone’s face after everything they’ve been through it’s very rewarding and it reminds you why you’re doing it in the first place. Well – I also like food in my fridge!

Cool! What’s next: staying in Hamburg for a while, or exploring the world?

I definitely want to explore the world, but not in the near future since I have to finish my degree first. Hopefully I have only one year left. Then I want to work here for a couple of years, ideally between Germany and Lebanon – or who knows. We’ll see! I’m excited for what’s out there.

For more information about Aqtivus, check out aqtivus.de.  If you’d like to get in touch with Abdallah, you can find him on Facebook @ Nemer Abud.


Where can we taste some delicious Lebanese food?
Try L’Orient, a bit of a fancy restaurant at the Osterstrasse, or Saliba at Neuer Wall. For less fancy, but delicious snacks, head to the Steindamm and look for Alamira and Habibi.

With which organisations can we help refugees?
Some examples are AWO, Fluchtpunkt and Hayat.


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