According to the Association for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (BumF), there were around 68,000 unaccompanied refugee minors in Germany at the end of January 2016, including just over 4,000 in Berlin alone.

At that time, the very first Poetry Project group had just been created.

The focus: young people from Afghanistan and Iran. This first group was initially all-male because many young men were sent to Europe alone. Yasser Niksada, Mahdi Hashemi, Shahzamir Hataki, Ghani Ataei, Kahel Kashmiri and Samiullah Rasouli, all aged between 14 and 18 at the time, were there from the start. In 2018 they received the Else Lasker-Schüler Poetry Prize for their moving works. "Your poetry opens people's hearts," said keynote speaker Günter Wallraff in praise of the poems.

And so it became clear: the writing would continue. From 2017-2019, around 750 young refugees – most from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria – joined young people from all over Germany in a lyrical dialogue held in events across the country. The Covid pandemic made it difficult to hold regular writing meetings in the meantime, but since May 2023 the project has expanded once again: we now write in Arabic, Kurdish, Persian and Ukrainian.

Young immigrants in particular have come to stay. How do they experience the immigration process, the pain of leaving home, of arrival, of becoming foreign? How do they find their footing? How do they experience the differences between their old homes and their new one? What similarities do they find? Their impressive poetry captures all these experiences and more.