Day 15
One minute of therapy with an interpreter for a refugee in Germany

Hal yumkinukum musa3adatuna? Hal yumkinukum musa3adatuna?

Counselling and therapy for survivors of torture and war, supported by interpreters

Hal yumkinukum musa3adatuna? In English: Can you help us? This simple sentence could have been uttered by a Syrian refugee family that has come to the Therapy Centre for the Survivors of Torture and War that is run by the Medical Aid Organisation (MFH). But most of our staff would not be able to understand them. So what to do in a psychosocial centre when patients and therapists have no language in common? Without interpreters, our work would simply be impossible. And it is about more than just understanding the language, but also about conveying the meaning of what is being said. For this reason, we work with professional cultural and language interpreters who are, if needed, able to not only translate what is being said as closely as possible, but can also put that in its proper cultural context.



Psychosocial support and therapy for traumatised refugees.



Therapy and counselling for traumatised refugees are made possible by employing culturally sensitive language and cultural interpreters.

Countable effort


Number of counselling and therapy sessions conducted with the support of an interpreter.



Allowing traumatised refugees to become psychological sound. Overcoming the current crisis then makes a new start in life possible.

Systemic effect


Improved psychosocial care and better opportunities for social participation for refugees.


Before they left, many refugees have fallen victim to severe human rights violations in their countries of origin. They have been subjected to violence, persecution or war. Because of these traumatic experiences, many suffer from anxiety and depressions. The refugees’ unsafe and depressing housing situation here in Germany often exacerbates their health issues: They are in urgent need of psychosocial support.

In their psychosocial centre, the MFH provides interdisciplinary support services, ranging from medical care via psychotherapy to social work. Whenever necessary, trained language and cultural interpreters are consulted during counseling and therapy sessions.

Linguistic mediation is by no means a standard procedure, either in health care or at the local authorities, mostly because of a lack of funding. While our staff are paid from public project-specific funds, this does not apply to the interpreters. Their fees are not covered by the public health insurers and generally speaking also not by the social welfare office. Public grants are far from adequate to cover our costs.

The good deed

With this good deed, the psychosocial centre can employ trained language and cultural interpreters as part of our counselling and therapy sessions and thereby better support the refugees in overcoming their war and migration trauma and find a home here in the Ruhr area.





82 667 700

82 667 700

Number of inhabitants

41 902

41 902

Gross domestic product per capita per year



Human Development Index

Germany has one of the best health care and social security systems. However, refugees only have limited access to health care.

About the organization and further information


Medizinische FlĂĽchtlingshilfe Bochum e.V.

Further information and source