Alpha O. Barry



Alpha works as a translator and interpreter. He has a bachelor degree in business studies and a completed apprenticeship as a multilingual secretary. He also works for the association Guinee-Coop E.V. in Bochum. He came to Germany from Guinea.


The time I moved to Bochum there was a huge demand for German language courses for young refugees that came alone to Germany. I talked to a friend from university and together we decided to rent some rooms and to search for volunteers to give the refugees the opportunity to learn the German language. Since 2016 now we offer language courses and extra tuition. All these years I spent a lot of time with people from many different countries. I tried to support them and to help them with their integration process.


I felt addressed by the project „Specially Unknown“, especially as it fits into the associations activities. Personally, I saw it as an opportunity to learn new things and to broaden my horizons. When the trainer contacted me in search for fieldworkers for the project I didn´t hesitate to become involved and confirmed my participation. I talked with my son, who is sixteen years old, and asked him if he would like to participate in the training at the start of the project. After exchanging with the trainer, I got a positive feedback and my son could also participate. For us it was a pleasure to take part at the training together.
During the training I learned a lot about people from different cultures who were also socially committed and who stood up for other people. In addition I also learned a lot about myself and at the end of the training I told myself: “You are not alone.”


Sharing your experiences is one thing, but to express them in front of a camera can be very difficult and exciting, even though you might get used to the situation after some time. When it came to applying the knowledge from the training I talked to people from my own community about the project as a preparation for the interview, I encountered a lot of skepticism. Many Interviewees first agreed spontaneously but canceled the interview later on. There have also been cases where some have asked for money to do the interview. But in the end I think that these problems may be caused by certain insecurities concerning media in general and the camera-situation in particular. I also think that these problems can be solved.


I like to remember the time of the training. Gradually we developed a sense of togetherness in the team, as you exchange and as you share personal experiences. The tips we got in the training for dealing with people with traumatic experiences are a special help for me and I will definitely keep them in mind.


I see the project as a contribution to the integration of people with and also without a migratory background. It is about people who share a common space, who live together, who can get to know each other and who have to find ways to master the challenges of life. I hope that the project will be a starting point for further ideas and projects in cooperation with the respective community here in Bochum but also in the countries of origin.