F A Q

What does the Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN offer?

The Center supports rehabilitation and integration of refugees and migrants. Our services include outpatient medical and therapeutic treatment for traumatized adults, children and youth, immediate psychosocial care for newly arrived traumatized refugees, intensive support and daily structure in a day clinic in cooperation with the Charité University Hospital. Women who experienced severe violence find help in our supervised therapeutic housing community. Integrated social work complements the treatment and helps stabilize our patients/clients. Additionally, scientific research and the development of treatment approaches as well as documentation of the causes, the consequences and the treatment of traumata accompany the work of the Center. The Center also provides basic psychological, social and legal counseling to refugees and migrants. Integration courses together with vocational preparation and training support our patients/clients in everyday and working life. Our state-approved vocational school for social assistants offers education in the field of healthcare.

How does the Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN finance its work?

The Center finances its work to about 50% from public funding, such as from the European Union, the German Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), and the Berlin Senate. Non-public funding comes i.a., the German Red Cross (DRK), Misereor, Aktion Mensch, the Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur (Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Research and Culture), the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie (German Lottery Foundation), the Dr. F. Samimi-Foundation as well as numerous private donors.

Who are the patients and clients at the Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN?

The Center treats and counsels over 500 patients each year who have experienced torture and war-related violence. These adults, children and adolescents come from Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Chechnya, Iran, Iraq, and over 50 other countries. Due to their traumatic experiences, these individuals suffer from e.g., chronic pain, non controllable memories, sleep disorders with nightmares, psychosomatic afflictions, disturbances in concentration and memory as well as depression. Furthermore, over 600 refugees and migrants from about 40 countries benefit from the center’s services like counseling, integration courses, and vocational qualification. Our state-approved vocational school qualifies around 100 students from 20 countries each year.

How do the patients come to the Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN?

Many of the persons who seek help at the Center are referred to us by facilities for refugee assistance, lawyers or medical doctors and psychotherapists outside of the Center, or they learn about us from their communities. Our multidisciplinary team of medical doctors, psychotherapists, psychologists, physiotherapists, social workers and creative therapists applies accepted treatment methods e.g., psychodynamic psychotherapy and behavioral therapy (for individuals and groups) in an intercultural setting. They work together with specially trained interpreters mediating both language and culture. With our comprehensive services we advocate the protection of our patients‘ and clients‘ rights, and support them as much as possible in establishing their life in exile.

Who bears the costs of treatment?

According to the regulations of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Law (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz), the Social Security Statute Book (Sozialgesetzbuch) as well as the Child and Youth Services Act (Kinder- und Jugendhilfegesetz), the costs for treatment are not completely carried by the responsible ministries. Some patients are medically insured despite their legal status in Germany, but for most of the refugees seeking help there is no state-regulated funding available.

How does you donation help?

Donations help us to finances offers that are not reimbursed e.g., the work of our specially trained interpreters, social work, and resource-oriented therapies, such as art- and music therapy or our healing garden. Where is the Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN internationally engaged? Within the last years the Center conducted research projects in several countries, e.g. Cambodia (project on mental health amongst victims of the Khmer-Rouge and the readiness to reconcile), and Colombia (justice and reconciliation between internally displaced persons and former perpetrators). To provide survivors of torture and war violence with help on site and foster human rights work of international partner organizations, the center is engaged internationally. In 2005, with support of the Federal Foreign Office, the EU and the U.S. Departments of State (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor) the Center established the first treatment center for torture survivors in Northern Iraq. By now, our on-site co-operation partner, the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights, provides support for survivors of torture, violence, genocide, and ethnic persecution at nine different locations.

How does the Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN campaign against torture and war-related violence?

At the intercept of rehabilitation, integration, and human rights, the Center informs and campaigns against torture and war-related violence through a multitude of publications and lectures. The Center seeks regular contact with national and international associations, organizations and panels that work in the areas of refugee assistance and upholding human rights. The Center constantly informs about its work through Press and PR work. Internationally we campaign for the establishment of treatment centers in persecutor states and conflict areas. The Center itself is politically independent but not neutral.

We side with the survivors of human rights violations and foster their rehabilitation and integration. We see the realization of their rights as part of our work and support them in having a say within the society. We are bound to the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT), the UN Human Rights Declaration and the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, Madrid Declaration of the Plenary Assembly of the Standing Committee of Doctors of the European Community as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.