Thousands of people from Ukraine have arrived and been housed in Berlin after fleeing the war in their home country. Among the first to find a temporary new home here in Berlin is a group of 120 orphans from the port city of Odessa.
On the initiative of the Jewish Community in Berlin, the orphanage in Odessa was evacuated and the children were brought to Berlin by bus. In the meantime, a hotel has been rented to accommodate the children, communal meals are served in the Chabad Berlin education centre, the children are looked after all day and take part in online lessons or visit schools in the immediate vicinity.
"When the orphans arrived here in Berlin, we offered our help to the Jewish community. We want to support Rabbi Teichtal in providing a new home for the girls and boys who have fled. Through our sports and games activities, we bring a bit of variety into the children's difficult everyday lives," explains Union-President Dirk Zingler.
For the past two weeks, the group has been going on a twice-weekly excursion to Köpenick, where youth coaches from 1. FC Union Berlin provide a varied and active afternoon programme. Depending on the age group and the preferences of the children, they kick the ball and play football, of course, but first and foremost the Eisernen want to get the children moving and in a good mood through play. Every Tuesday, Union gets about 30 boys and every Thursday about 40 girls moving.
Yehuda Teichtal, Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Berlin, is very happy about the project with the Eisernen. "It's nice to see how much fun the children have at Union and how enthusiastically they tell about it when they return. As soon as they return, they are already counting the days until they go back to the Alte Försterei. I am very grateful to 1. FC Union Berlin for this commitment".