Sign of the times

A simple subway map in Arabic is helping Syrian refugees find their way around Berlin

Public transport information in some German cities is being made available in Arabic.  Adam Berry / Bloomberg News
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Germany has set itself apart in Europe by the way it has handled the refugee crisis. Its willingness to accept Syrians who were turned away at other borders has shamed its European neighbours. But it’s not just the government that has shown compassion and extended the hand of friendship to those in great need. German newspapers have published vital information in Arabic and ordinary people have opened the doors to their homes to dispossessed families.

The latest initiative is a guide to the Berlin commuter rail system written in Arabic and produced by the public transport operator BVG with the voluntary assistance of a local activist, Rafael Sanchez, and a Syrian refugee, Ebrahim Kadour.

Whether refugee or visitor, seeing signs and other written material in your own language offers a sense of comfort and security, and the knowledge that you truly are welcome. We encourage other European countries to take a similar approach.