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Gemeinsam GRUNDbilden – basic financial education for refugees

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The project

Many refugees have difficulty navigating the financial, economic and state systems in Germany. They generally receive benefits under the legislation for the protection of refugees (AsylbLG), although have neither timely access to debt prevention nor debt counselling. The “Gemeinsam GRUNDbilden” [learn basic skills together] aims to provide basic financial skills to handle your own financial resources, thereby creating the basis for integration. The refugees are given information and instruction through learning together with people who know their way around Germany’s social systems. The project is intended to offer support to avoid debt and may allow for an early referral to debt counselling for you.

Brief concept

If refugees want to participate in society, the ability to handle money effectively is among the necessary everyday activities. To do this, they must first understand the basic terms and contexts for handling money in their new homeland. Even though there are a variety of integration and language courses, there exists no basic financial training for refugees.

Anyone who wants to find their feet in a new environment, normally has questions to which they require answers. However, if you do no know what and whom to ask, you often unable to find your bearings. Anyone who comes from a country in which there is no payroll accounting and wages are paid out in cash, will not ask what the net after gross is, and where you can open an account.

In the “Gemeinsam GRUNDbilden” project, we formulate and answer questions relevant to everyday matters, so that refugees understand social, economic and financial contexts and are therefore able to find their way. Together with dedicated volunteers, we develop services that provide refugees with guidance and a practical structure for handling money and reinforces their individual responsibility. In this way, dedicated volunteers and refugees learn from one another within the context of their cultural values and experiences.
On a small scale, the project is therefore making a contribution to integration in practice.

Core services

The services developed in the project support refugees manage everyday challenges posed by handling money. The modules provide a simple basic knowledge with the help of everyday financial terms from the subject areas

  • Work
  • Accommodation
  • Account
  • Mobile phone
  • Budgeting
  • Purchases
  • State social security system
  • Insurances
  • Pensions and debt counselling

The services promote joint, competence-based learning whose aim is for the refugees to get to grips with the financial everyday as independently as possible and identify any pitfalls promptly.

The services are developed by dedicated volunteers in the team and are carried out by them, for example, in the refugees’ accommodation or as part of welcome initiatives. They share their expertise and experience with the refugees and therefore provide them with practical information about how to handle money in Germany.

The dedicated volunteers are supported through coaching during the project with the preparation, implementation and mirroring of the services.

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Gemeinsam GRUNDbilden – basic financial education for refugees


Debt counselling

SKM Cologne
Haus der Sozialen Dienste
Grosse Telegraphenstrasse 31
50676 Cologne
Tel. +49 (0) 221 2074-0
Fax: +49 (0) 221 2074-224


Silvia Hahn
Social worker
+49 (0) 221 2074 225
Mobile: +49 (0) 176 – 4731 6348

Gert Krützer
Graduate information scientist and organisational developer
Mobile: +49 (0) 176 1506 7627