BERLIN / REFUGEE BUS DRIVER

21-Jan-2019 00:02:43
Berlin’s extensive public transport network and the city’s employment agency have launched an innovative programme to put refugees into the driver’s seat. Sixteen trainees last year completed a year-long course to learn how to navigate the city in the 1,300-bus fleet. Mohamad Al Said, a Syrian refugee, is now steering a course for a new life in Berlin. UNHCR
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STORY: BERLIN / REFUGEE BUS DRIVER
TRT: 2:41
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: GERMAN /NATS

DATELINE: 11 DECEMBER 2018, BERLIN, GERMANY
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, Berlin city bus passing by in front of the Brandenburg Gate
2. Various shots, busses in city traffic
3. Wide shot, Al Said walking towards a bus
4. Various shots, Al said starting the engine and driving
5. Med shot, buss passing by
6. Close up, hands on steering wheel
7. SOUNDBITE (German) Mohamad Al Said, Syrian refugee bus driver:
“What I like about my job as a bus driver is serving people. Transporting elderly people to from A to B. Helping people, that’s another important thing that I do every day.”
8. Wide shot, Al Said walking in bus yard
9. Close up, blinker
10. Med shot, Al Said driving
11. Close up, Al Said
12. Tracking shot, bus
13. Wide shot, bus leaving yard
14. SOUNDBITE (German) Mohamad Al Said, Syrian refugee bus driver:
“It’s stressful sometimes. There are traffic jams, aggressive drivers. But it’s ok.
15. Various shots, Al Said getting ready for work
16. SOUNDBITE (German) Mohamad Al Said, Syrian refugee bus driver:
“This job as a bus driver means everything to me now. It has brought me security in Germany and means that I can support myself and my family financially. And that’s very important.”
17. Various shots, Al Said getting bus ready
18. SOUNDBITE (German) Mohamad Al Said, Syrian refugee bus driver:
“Home is home. It will always stay in my heart. But I would like to stay in Berlin and work.”
19. Med shot, Al Said at a bus station
20. Close up, Al Said
21. Med shot, Al Said closing bus door
22. Wide shot, bus driving away
STORYLINE
Berlin’s extensive public transport network and the city’s employment agency have launched an innovative programme to put refugees into the driver’s seat. Sixteen trainees last year completed a year-long course to learn how to navigate the city in the 1,300-bus fleet. Mohamad Al Said, a Syrian refugee, is now steering a course for a new life in Berlin.

Mohamad Al Said, now 33, once studied Arabic in Syria and aspired to become a teacher. But war at home turned him into a refugee in Germany, where he fled in 2015. However, the young father of two, has turned his fortunes around thanks to the municipal programme, which puts refugees through a rigorous year-long course to retrain as bus drivers.

Mohamad told new friends helping to adapt to life in Germany that he had once had a job driving a small, nine-seater bus for a primary school in Syria. They suggested he contact Berlin’s transport network, which was looking for drivers. Several months later, he got a call offering him a place on the special training program for refugees.

SOUNDBITE (German) Mohamad Al Said, Syrian refugee bus driver:
“What I like about my job as a bus driver is serving people. Transporting elderly people to from A to B. Helping people, that’s another important thing that I do every day.”

In the summer of 2018, Mohamad was one of sixteen newcomers to complete the year-long traineeship run by Berlin’s transport network (BVG) and the city’s employment agency. Unlike Mohamad, most of his fellow trainees had never driven buses of any kind before. The group started with a four-month language course, followed by in-depth security and technical training. Then Mohamad worked on memorizing bus routes in his patch in eastern Berlin.

SOUNDBITE (German) Mohamad Al Said, Syrian refugee bus driver:
“It’s stressful sometimes. There are traffic jams, aggressive drivers. But it’s ok.

Mohamad says the best part of his job is serving people, and he appreciates the diversity of nationalities all living in Germany’s capital city. Outside of work, he never drives – but his preferred mode of transportation is actually a bicycle.
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