Everyone matters.

What’s been happening off the coasts of the Fortress that is Europe is a tragedy and can’t be surpassed in terms of injustice and suffering. Nowhere else has the fragile imbalance of the world community become more obvious than along the refugee routes of the Mediterranean. Thousands of people are forced to flee due to poverty, hunger and persecution. Countless refugees end up losing their lives. Once the number of victims has reached an amount worth mentioning, as it has most recently, it causes a loud but brief outcry. Solutions hardly ever result from it. But every person matters. Nobody is more important than the other, just because they were born – by chance – on the other side of the ocean. When the CUCULA project started to engage in dialogue with refugees at the Oranienplatz, instead of either loudly demanding them to leave or fighting for their right to stay, it was more than just a step in the right direction: it was an effective and solution-oriented approach. CUCULA is a pilot project that has already supported five refugees in building their own professional future. Making and designing furniture, while incorporating fragments of their journey across the Mediterranean, such as wood planks from shipwrecks, the refugees are able to tell their story and have the opportunity to open up a perspective for a self-determined life. The proceeds from furniture sales are reinvested in educational programmes that will help pave the way for a long-term residence and work permit. This is how integration works. Another project that strives for a pragmatic and solution-oriented approach is Flüchtlinge Willkommen. While federal and state governments are still debating about accommodation costs for asylum seekers and fanatic criminals set fire to asylum homes, the Berlin project places refugees in shared flats or apartments without much ado. Everyone who has enough space can volunteer and accommodate one person or more in their home for a while. Flüchtlinge willkommen will connect you, organize the process and even help you re-finance „lost“ rent. Über den Tellerrand arranges culinary meetings for people with different backgrounds. An Afghan Night, a Nigerian cooking course – engaging in culinary dialogues, people and cultures come to together and help each other to escape stigmata. Involvement is the key – ignorance can often lead to intolerance. Go out and take a step forward. Get to know each other, commit yourself to a good cause and make the world a better place. These are all small projects and initiatives, but there are lots more. And they all have one thing in common: they’re providing solutions and putting things and us in motion.

Cucula cucula.org | Flüchtlinge Willkommen fluechtlinge-willkommen.deÜber den Tellerrand ueberdentellerrand.org Credit: Andreas Chudowski