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Refugees in Europe: how can we help them building a new life after fleeing their country?

Whilst summer and autumn 2015 recorded the highest media coverage regarding the refugees crisis, refugees continue to flee their countries to reach safer places.
It must actually be noted that media mostly focus on refugees dying at sea, on the journey, but do not pay much attention to what life really is for refugees once they arrive.

With the MakeSense Gang, we have worked on the safety of the refugees in their journey towards Europe or neighboring countries. As part of this challenge, we helped SOS Méditerranée put a boat at sea and put the spotlights on their actions. Now medias, and even artists have joined the battle :

Now what’s next?
How can they get access to basic needs in a country where they don’t speak the language, don’t know anybody, don’t have a place to stay? And if they do, how can they build a new life when their degrees are not recognized? Like in Paris or Berlin, you can create a group of volunteers to help projects solving these issues!

Back in spring last year, the MakeSense team in Berlin started a month cause on the topic of refugees. The team started in organizing problem-solving brainstormings to help social business entrepreneurs who are developing solutions for the refugees fleeing their country. This mobilization turned out to be a great success and this innovation became a global action for refugees within MakeSense Gang.

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Problem solving brainstorming organized in Berlin to help Berliner Stadtmission

In October 2015, MakeSense community started to mobilize citizens around the world to support social entrepreneurs that are working on solutions to ensure the safety of the refugees as they journey towards Europe or neighboring countries.

One of our emblematic mobilization was the one for SOS Méditerranée. At this time, SOS Méditerranée was working on their crowd-funding campaign to get a boat that could rescue refugees crossing the Mediterranean sea. Indeed the Mediterranean Sea became one of the most prominent routes for refugees trying to reach Europe.

Four months later, the SOS Méditerranée boat is at sea with at the head of the ship, the Captain Klaus Vogel.

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SOS Mediterranée and Makesense with Captain Klaus Vogel at the end of the Crowdfunding campaign

Ismail, a very active member of MakeSense in Berlin — who also had launched the Refugee Month Cause — decided to go to the Greek island of Lesbos to join a project called Start-up Boat. During 4 days, he joined a team of 30 volunteers and together worked on identifying solutions for the refugee crisis while helping boats approaching the shore.
Back to Berlin, he took some time to write down his story and explain why we need to build a safer passage to Europe.

By validating our first challenge-block in working on ensuring safety of the refugees towards Europe, it is now time for us to go forward and to solve the 2nd challenge-block of our track on refugees.

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Our new challenge is to make sure asylum seekers and refugees can access their basic needs and information.

Currently, different MakeSense teams are launching 3-month mobilization to sensitize and mobilize on this topic!

In Paris, MakeSense will participate to the Techfugees Hackathon in March along with SINGA, to boost different projects using mobile app or other technologies to help refugees in host countries.
For example, CALM — which is the hosting service developed by SINGA to match refugees and citizens with free rooms in their house — was developed during a Hackathon in January 2015. Other projects will be boosted to intensify their impact.

The MakeSense team of volunteers is also planning to co-organize an event to allow project holders to meet with developers etc. but also potential partners. A MKS Room on this topic will allow every participant to understand the issues at stake, and to introduce this hackathon.

There are many ways for you to get involved in this mobilization and to support social entrepreneurs who are working on business models that ensure refugees can access their basic needs and information.

Either by organizing a Hold-Up — problem solving workshop ; or a SenseFiction that is a format that helps generate ideas and create business models to tackle specific issues ; or even organize an event to bring social entrepreneurs, music and the general public together — a MKS Room.

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MKS Room in London “Refugees Forward”

We are even more lucky that MakeSense has this strength to be global and to have sourced different social entrepreneurs across Europe on this topic.

Have you met Daniel from Berlin? Daniel actually went on a tour across Europe to meet social entreprises that are working on the topic of refugees.

Check out his article where he tells the story of his journey. Amongst the projects he came across are a design hotel run by refugees in Vienna ; a social enterprise in Maastricht that works on the integration of refugees through skills development and the spirit of entrepreneurship ; or a Football club fighting against racism in Rome. So many social entreprises that may have challenges that could be solved with your help!

Such as the MakeSense team in Madrid who just launched a three-months mobilization to support an app developed to help map safe routes for refugees, you can also create a mobilization in your city!

In cities like Beirut where we find 85% of the urban refugees, in Paris or in Le Havre where refugees have built camps waiting to cross the Channel, but also in many other cities facing these issues ; let’s all mobilize citizens to support and reinforce the positive impact created by social entrepreneurs!

Together we can find projects creating economic opportunities for refugees in their welcoming country!

You would like to know more on how to get involved to the extent you can, but don’t necessarily who how to start? Get in touch with Camille or Solène!

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Camille is helping the MakeSense community to grow around Paris. She is working with the volunteers to get citizens involved in solving social startups’ challenges.

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makesense est une communauté internationale de citoyens, d’entrepreneurs et d’organisations qui résolvent ensemble les défis sociaux et environnementaux

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