Building Tools for Refugees

avatar Mark Fonseca Rendeiro Host
avatar Khaled Guest
avatar Katharina Dermühl Guest
avatar Markus Neuschäfer Guest
avatar Yolanda Schmidtke Guest

Over the past few months the story and struggle of people trying to make it to Germany, Austria, and neighboring countries has made headlines. They’re referred to as refugees, though at the latest hackathon in Berlin one participant remarked, “I’d rather be called a newcomer.”

The number one tool of the newcomer? — The mobile phone. The number one demand throughout the journey? – Power to charge them, wifi to transmit messages to concerned loved ones, for checking the map for other routes that offer safer passage, and possibly to communicate with those who might be waiting for them once they get to their destinations. But the phone and internet alone are not enough. To manage to get through the hardship of getting from Syria or Libya or Iraq or Afghanistan to the areas of Europe that welcome them.. the barriers are still many. The beast of bureaucracy that would drive even the most fluent German speaker mad, the landlord who won’t rent to “refugees”, the prestigious University that doesn’t recognize credits from some of Syria’s finest institutions. What can be done to overcome such barriers? Who is stepping up to help and how are they doing it?

cropped-RainbowHeart_SoloToday on the podcast, we talk about tools for refugees, or as I’ll refer to them from now on in this program: newcomers.. recent arrivals.. those who are trying to start a life in a new place. What tools are they using and who is developing these tools. Specifically in the Berlin area, where hundreds if not thousands of volunteers are busy in so many ways, helping people arrive and get settled. They, like many of us, are learning as they go, and today we’re going to hear about what they’ve learned, what they’re creating, and how it is making a difference in this unprecedented moment in history.

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