The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting damage is often portrayed in staggering numbers and statistics. This article offers, by contrast, a personal and qualitative account of employees, volunteers, and young residents at a refugee home in Berlin, Germany. Through the story of a boy who has spent the past 4 years in several of Berlin’s 84 remaining refugee accommodations, we examine the inequalities that already existed in Germany and how the pandemic has exacerbated them. To provide ample context, we critically assess the so-called Welcome Classes that children and teens have been attending since their arrival to the country in or around 2015 and argue that the segregation experienced at school mirrors the isolation from the host society that refugees and people seeking asylum are subjected to residentially. We then present an emergency response to school closures: A digital homework mentorship program designed to mitigate the heightened barriers to social interaction and access to education brought about by the pandemic. We explore the sociocultural theory underpinning the program, describe its methods, and offer a qualitative evaluation of the results. Finally, we discuss how the informal education intervention helps fill gaps in the system, offering an approach that can be used going forward to promote learning, social-emotional development, and inclusion of young people with migration and refugee backgrounds.

DOI: 10.1007/s42087-020-00161-3
ISSN: 2522-5804