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The origins of safe ways

Symbolic beginning

The first people to say "Yes!" in Germany were the people of Munich. On the 850th anniversary of the city in 2008, safe ways was founded as the Save Me campaign, initiated by a broad alliance of the Bavarian Refugee Council, the Munich Refugee Council, the Münchner Kammerspiele, Refugio and many other supporters. Save Me demanded that the city council officially declare itself in favour of taking in 850 refugees, thereby showing that an additional intake of refugees in Germany is wanted and, above all, possible. As the municipalities bear the main financial burden of actively taking in refugees, the cities' "Yes!" was a strong sign. So as to not only make demands, but to also make a tangible contribution, the Save Me campaign agreed to look for 850 volunteers who would welcome the refugees in Munich.


The first city council resolution

The Save Me campaign's demand fell on fertile ground: Not only did the Munich City Council unanimously support the campaign and the admission of 850 refugees, the mayor at the time, Christian Ude, also brought all his political clout to bear and demanded that the German government participate in the UNHCR resettlement programme in the future, therefore continuing the idea of the Save Me campaign. 


More and more Save Me campaigns 

The success of the Munich initiative set up a precedent. After a short time, over 50 other municipalities and districts decided to organise local campaigns: from A for Aachen to W for Werra-Meißner-Kreis. All of them aimed at persuading the local authorities to pass a city council resolution in favour of accepting refugees. More than 40 of these municipalities subsequently approved the admission of refugees by city council resolutions.


The decision of the Conference of Interior Ministers 

On December 9th 2011, the Minister of the Interior at that time, Friedrich, announced that Germany would participate in the UN Refugee Agency's resettlement programme from 2012 to 2015, initially as part of a three-year pilot programme. In each of the first three years, 300 particularly vulnerable refugees were accepted. The positive decision by the Conference of Interior Ministers was a great success for the campaign. After the successful completion of the pilot scheme, the German government decided to continue its activities in resettlement. Since 2015, Germany has taken in an annual quota of refugees through resettlement. The quota is generally approved in the previous year for the upcoming year and has grown over the last years, it is however still far too small in view of the great need (for the exact numbers of the quotas, please have a look here). 


From Save Me to safe ways

With Germany's increasing involvement in resettlement and other admission programmes, Save Me transformed more and more from a campaign to a permanent project with explicit responsibilities in the admission context. While the campaign name was very apt for the campaign goal, in the project context it was not adequate anymore. As Germany began to participate in several admission programmes over the years and the topic of family reunification also became an integral part of everyday project life, we decided on the name "safe ways".

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