Prinzip Heimat e.V.: Hotel Utopia

From refugees to hosts: Hotel Utopia aims to offer refugees opportunities for work, education and training.

The idea
Hotel Utopia is a unique pilot project in Germany that is intended to offer refugees opportunities for work, education and training and thus make a material contribution to their long-term inclusion in society. People seeking asylum in Europe bring a diverse range of talents, qualifications and skills with them. Hotel Utopia offers the chance to contribute these aptitudes, turning refugees into hosts. This will give rise to a meeting place in which prejudices can be challenged and refugees can take up a place at the centre of society. Hotel Utopia is taking a stand against discrimination and xenophobia. The project has been initiated and conceived by the Prinzip Heimat (principle of home) association.

The hotel
The plans foresee a 3-star hotel with around 100 rooms in a central location in Berlin. The business of running the hotel will be supplemented by an international food and drink offering and a broad-based programme of events. The hotel will be run by industry professionals and a team of around 30 staff, of whom some two-thirds will be people with a refugee background.  A job coach and a network of partner organisations will enable individual and needs-focused support for the employees in relation to work and non-work matters (e.g. prior qualifications, language, health, residence permits etc.) as well as long-term career planning.

The background
At present, no other issue preoccupies our society as much as the steadily rising number of refugees and the attendant question of effective mechanisms to include people with a refugee background. While on the one hand there are concerns in Germany over an ageing society and the scarcity of specialist staff (including in the hotel and catering sector), on the other social and structural barriers are making it difficult for refugees to access legal employment and a self-determined life. Prinzip Heimat e.V. is facing up to this challenge with an effective and scalable model project.

Prinzip Heimat e.V.
The Prinzip Heimat e.V. aims to welcome refugees in Germany and to support their inclusion via access to employment, education and training. The initiators' expertise encompasses longstanding experience in the acquisition, planning and implementation of international social projects. Furthermore, the team has experience in voluntary work with refugees in Berlin. Cooperation arrangements with established hotel operators will complement the required expertise in planning and realising the running of the hotel.

The  initiators:
Katrin Elsemann, Susanne Wilm, Maja Hebel and Catherine Daraspe.

Further information is available at www.prinzipheimat.org and www.facebook.com/hotelutopiaberlin