This Week in Refugee News

July 7, 2017

Each week we collect the most interesting, inspiring and innovative refugee stories from around the world to share with you. Here are this week’s picks:

In Germany, Tech Leaders Teach Refugees How to Code (via NPR)

What do you do when you have a booming tech industry and a labor market that desperately needs tech workers? In Germany, some of the country’s tech leaders are turning to refugees.

One group, FrauenLoop, a Berlin-based nonprofit is focused on bringing more women – especially refugee women – into the tech field by offering 12-week training courses in coding.

“I am tending to get women who say, oh, God, finally something that’s not cooking or sewing. I went to university. I have multiple degrees,” says Nakeema Stefflbauer, owner of FrauenLoop.

Learn more about the tech initiatives in Germany and how this industry is helping refugees secure employment.

Learning To Love The Water: Teaching Resettled Refugees Swimming Safety (via WBUR)

English language and swim lessons pair nicely at this YMCA program in Burlington, Vermont for newly resettled refugee children.

Lynda Siegel, program volunteer and English as a second language teacher explains, “when I first started working with the Somali Bantu population, those students would say to me, ‘we never went near the water because there were crocodiles.’ ” Safe to say, there are no crocodiles in Vermont.

Read more about the swim camp and see how these new swimmers are succeeding!

On His Surfboard, He Doesn’t Feel Like a Refugee (via USA for UNHCR)

Growing up in landlocked Aleppo, Ali Kassem never dreamed he’d be a surfer — but he never dreamed he’d be a refugee either. Everything changed in 2011 when his family was forced to flee Syria and found safety in the coastal town of Jiyeh, Lebanon. Not only did the family find safety, but Ali found his passion: surfing.

“When I surf I forget everything,” Ali says. “Even if I had something on my mind, once I am in the water I forget.”

Learn more about how surfing and Ali’s new community are helping him gain confidence and overcome the trauma he has endured.

He Walked 370 Miles to Escape Somali War and Spent 16 years in a Kenyan Refugee Camp. Now He’s Working in Omaha to Help Others (via Omaha World Herald)

“For 16 years I was denied the opportunity to follow my dreams,” said Dekow Sagar, 34. “I finally got that opportunity in America through the refugee resettlement program.”

Sagar is now a program coordinator at Lutheran Family Services, a refugee resettlement agency. “It’s really my dream job, my passion . . . I can now say that I’ve been on both sides of the refugee story.”

Read more of Dekow’s story and how he is enriching the Omaha community.

Paddington Bear Is a Symbol of Kindness to Refugees We Should Never Forget (via Quartz)

Celebrated author Michael Bond passed away last month at the age of 91 but his legacy and lessons of hope and acceptance will be with us forever. The famous author of the Paddington Bear series was an influential and inspiring lifelong advocate for refugees.

At its heart, the Paddington series is a refugee story. As a stowaway Paddington traveled illegally by boat and is accepted by a family in London.

“[Bond] encouraged us not to see refugees as scary “others”—but as people who may just appreciate a warm hug and a marmalade sandwich.”

Read more about Paddington Bear and Bond’s lifelong advocacy.