Refugee Crisis: Innovative Ways Germans Are Welcoming Them

PHOTO: A refugee family from Syria waits in front of a exhibition hall at the Munich fairground that serves as makeshift shelter for migrants after they arrived in Munich, Germany, Sept. 7, 2015.PlayChristof Stache/AFP/Getty Images
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Nearly 20,000 refugees arrived in Munich over the weekend, according to Bavarian authorities. And while there has been sporadic anti-migrant protests across Germany recently, many locals are finding original and heartwarming ways to welcome refugees.

The generosity of the German people has extended beyond train stations from classrooms to kitchens.

"Germany will be able to take in 500,000 refugees a year for a few years," Chancellor Angela Merkel's deputy Sigmar Gabriel said on local TV Monday, meaning Germany will be accepting more asylum seekers than any other European country.

PHOTO: A man holds a Welcome sign for arriving refugees at the train station in Saalfeld, central Germany, Sept. 5, 2015.Jens Meyer/AP Photo
A man holds a "Welcome" sign for arriving refugees at the train station in Saalfeld, central Germany, Sept. 5, 2015.

PHOTO: About 50 cars and vans gather in Vienna on Sept. 6th to shuttle refugees across Hungarian border.Ashley Langley
About 50 cars and vans gather in Vienna on Sept. 6th to shuttle refugees across Hungarian border.

Dozens of volunteers have been driving to Hungary and to the Serbian border, picking up refugees walking along the highway in the aim of helping them travel to Western Europe. At least 150 cars crossed back into Austria Monday.

PHOTO: According to the makers, the Welcome App Dresden was developed to help new refugees after theyve arrived in Dresden, Germany.Saxonia Systems AG/Apple
According to the makers, the "Welcome App Dresden" was developed to help new refugees after they've arrived in Dresden, Germany.

In Dresden, a city in eastern Germany, entrepreneurs have launched a smartphone app to help asylum seekers find information on how to register with the authorities, get health insurance and find their way around. Peggy Reuter-Heinrich, the CEO of Heinrich & Reuter Solutions, which worked on the app with Saxonia Systems, said in a statement that the app would help refugees deal with bureaucracy better than paper documents.

Across Germany, dozens of universities are offering free classes for refugees -- while courses are free for Germans, asylum seekers are usually required to pay a fee. Humboldt Universität in Berlin is one of several who recently invited refugees to register as guest students.

Other programs are offering online courses with professors from around the country to provide opportunities for refugees.

PHOTO: Refugees Welcome founders Mareike Geiling and Jonas Kakoschke pose with Bakary, a refugee from Mali that they hosted, in an undated handout photo.Fluchtlinge Willkommen
"Refugees Welcome" founders Mareike Geiling and Jonas Kakoschke pose with Bakary, a refugee from Mali that they hosted, in an undated handout photo.

In Berlin, a couple has started an "Airbnb" for refugees, where locals are invited to host refugees in their homes for a temporary period of time. To date, more than 780 people have participated, according to a statement from the company "Refugees Welcome."

Also in Berlin, one group has founded a culinary company which aims to bring Germans and refugees together through food. "Über den Tellerrand kochen" or Cooking Out of the Box, started in 2013, have released a cookbook and hold cooking classes for locals taught by refugees, as a cultural exchange. The initiative has reportedly reached 45 cities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

“We aim to bring together two societies that are living parallel at the moment. Each person has something to offer and if you bring people together they can create something special," Lisa Thaens, an organizer of a cooking class program told ABC News.

PHOTO: Refugees and Germans sharing a meal at a community kitchen event organized by Ueber den Tellerrand kochen -Ueber den Tellerrand kochen
Refugees and Germans sharing a meal at a community kitchen event organized by Ueber den Tellerrand kochen -

In Munich, the beloved German soccer club Bayern Munich recently announced it was donating $1.11 million to help refugees and set up a training camp for children arriving in Munich. They will offer meals and German language classes to the kids taking part in the program.

PHOTO: Bayerns Douglas Costa celebrates after teammate Thomas Mueller, scored his sides opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen in Munich, Germany, Aug. 29, 2015.Matthias Schrader/AP Photo
Bayern's Douglas Costa celebrates after teammate Thomas Mueller, scored his side's opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen in Munich, Germany, Aug. 29, 2015.

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