The Kids Corner at Berlin Hauptbahnhof has been serving as a safe place for families with children to take some rest on their stressful and often multi-day travel fleeing from the war in Ukraine. Apart from the sleeping trains that Deutsche Bahn put on the platforms at night for the Refugees to sleep in the heated wagons, the Kids Corner was the only place for the Families with children to sleep in the (uheated!) station.Families who arrive at night and have their next train in the early morning, do not want to leave the train station to search for overnight accommodations. They are exhausted, disoriented, often do not have working sim cards, and cannot navigate an unknown city alone. Now that the sleeping trains are not provided anymore due to cost reasons, the Kids Corner was the best place for the families with children to spend their night in.
However, on 24.03.2022, the Deutsche Bahn ordered the Kids Corner to close at 10 pm and is not allowing it to stay open at night anymore.The SozDia foundation that was commissioned by the Senate to take over the Kids Corner from self-organised volunteers who ran it before, is also only compensated for the “day” hours. We, volunteers, are really worried with how rough will the nights be for the Families with children from now on. We demand that they are not only allowed to stay at the station to wait for their trains, but also are allowed to sleep at the station, and we volunteers are allowed to offer them such basics as warm blankets and hot water bottles.
In the Kids Corner, families had the opportunity to rest on protected seats and put their children in travel cots. The children, who lost their sense of time and their sleep rhythm during the flight, could continue to paint and do handicrafts. Tonight, children who are sound asleep for the first time in days will have to be awakened and sent away. Maybe at 9:30 p.m., when the DB will again exercise its domiciliary rights, but at the latest at midnight, as officially ordered. The families will not disappear from the station as a result, but will look for a place - probably on the cold floor, cause the seats are always occupied - where the child can continue to sleep.We, the volunteers, are very concerned about how hard the nights are getting for the families with children. We demand that Deutsche Bahn tolerates, as the weeks before, when families sleep in the children's area. We also demand that the Senate finds solutions and provides funds so that the Kid's Corner can be open 24 hours a day.
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