|How to act||
Refugees, Structural support
“Surviving the winter”
Already in the first months after the war began, hundreds of thousands of people had to flee or were expelled from their homes and found themselves in refugee camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina or in neighbouring countries, especially Croatia. Onward travel to European Community countries was usually only possible with a personal invitation and a guarantee certificate from a resident of those countries. Civil society groups and NGOs in various European countries tried to help refugees find host families or other accommodation, offered material, financial and psychological support and/or advocated for less restrictive government policies towards refugees.
One example is the initiative “Surviving the Winter”, which was founded in autumn 1992 by several German peace and women’s groups. In 1993 it was renamed “Surviving the War”. With newspaper advertisements, leaflets, street actions and contacts to churches and charities, the initiative sought persons and families who were willing to invite and host refugees for at least three months. “Surviving the Winter/War” helped the host families with administrative formalities and transported refugees to Germany by bus from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia . In 1992-1993, the initiative managed to bring and host an average of 50 Bosnian refugees every week in different cities in Germany.