Video: Swiss Eritrean Migrants “Stranded in Paradise”


Refugees and social assistance in March: What an Eritrean student from the Swiss welfare system thinks


Software Translation from German | December 25, 2017



“Stranded in Paradise”: excerpt from the review article


The Eritrean Yohannes Measho studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Windisch – he analyzes the situation of the young unemployed Eritreans in Switzerland.


«Stranded in Paradise»: A contribution by the «Rundschau» deals with the social assistance-dependent refugees from Eritrea. Isolation instead of integration turns out to be the main problem. But there are also examples of successful integration, as Johannes Measho proves.


The majority of Eritreans in Switzerland live in two worlds. This is shown by a contribution by the ” Rundschau ” of SRF. Most are unemployed and live on social assistance. Often the Eritreans stay among themselves, conversing in their native language – in many cases, integration largely falls by the wayside. “I feel like a beggar. The one is on the street, the other goes to the state, “says Seare Debesay, who draws social assistance. In the Eritrean community he is a star with his band “Royal Band” – 350,000 times their most successful song on Youtube has already been clicked. In Switzerland, he is without work, he moves on the edge of society.


But there are also counterexamples like that of John Measho. Alone among Swiss students he sits in a lecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Windisch. He studies electrical engineering and information technology. The father of two children is married to a Swiss.


Ten years ago, he had to drop out of physics studies in Eritrea and became an asylum seeker in Switzerland. Measho is convinced that Switzerland is paying its compatriots too generous social benefits. The sitting around breaks down, it needs more pressure. He sees weaknesses in the Swiss social system and says: “They will lose their work ethic and they will certainly not be integrated, but remain isolated and get social benefits forever.”


John Measho was ambitious and went his own way, which was not easy: “I had to have endurance, learn the language, get to know the culture. I’ve worked extremely hard to study at the University of Applied Sciences. “On the way home, Measho passes Aarau station, where many young Eritreans hang around and gather in small groups until late at night. “People do not have work, it is no pleasure for them to be here”, the college student does not condemn his compatriots.


“What do I want to do at home for 24 hours?” Says one young Eritrean at Aarau station. “Most are sensitive and irritable. Many have experienced terrible things while on the run. That’s why there are fights for little things, “explains another Eritrean. The station has also become a meeting place because of the free Internet access. From here, Eritreans can communicate with their families at home.


Rahel Davit came to Switzerland seven years ago as an asylum seeker. Today she speaks perfect dialect and makes in the care center Entlisberg a training for health professionals. She also says: “Many Eritreans are isolated, have contact only with compatriots. I did not have anyone at school to speak my native language. My foster parents spoke German exclusively. »


The “Royal Band” of Seare Debesay is currently working on the next hit. With a new video clip, the band wants to build on the current success. Debesay is attending a French course and would like to be on her own after training in five years. To succeed, what many Eritreans have failed to do: to pay for themselves. (Yas)