According to figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 51 million people are currently seeking asylum, have refugee status or are internally displaced. As a result of natural and humanitarian disasters, this number is growing. We pose the question 'how does refugee aid look in the digital age' and, via our RESET Special 'Refugee Aid 2.0', we will introduce projects that use digital tools to support and assist refugees. Today: MakeSense hosts an event looking at social entrepreneurship and integration.
The team from MakeSense has put the spotlight on refugees for the month of April, hosting a series of events that analyse the issues surrounding displacement. Together with Flüchtlinge Willkommen and Cucula, MakeSense will tonight host 'MKS Room: United We Rave' at Prachtwerk in Berlin, Germany, an event mixing music from Syrian DJ ManZoo with panel discussions about how to facilitate proper integration of refugees.
The event will take a look at concrete ways to promote cultural exchange and integration, analysing how Flüchtlinge Willkommen (a service that offers rooms in flatshares to refugees) and Cucula (an organisation that sells artisanal furniture crafted by refugees) allow local residents and refugees to engage directly with one another, breaking down barriers and encouraging diversity.
Daniel Hires, co-founder of MakeSense Berlin, previewed the event by saying: "MakeSense empowers people to use their skills to help social enterprises and projects that are working on causes they care about. In April, we wanted to bundle our activities around one cause, which we personally care deeply about: The inclusion of refugees in our society. Throughout April, we created events for the public to get information and take action, and the MKS Room is the final event of the series, where we will tie everything together."
Collaborative Approaches to Global Issues
The integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Germany has become an increasingly important issue – in the first half of 2014, asylum seeker applications rose 18 percent globally, with Germany receiving the most applications according to the UNHCR (a fifth of whom came from Syria). Initiatives that focus on integration at a local, community level are key to building longlasting measures that assist new migrants.
"First of all, I believe that the best way to create community is to be creative together - the bonding that happens is much stronger than when you are just consuming together. When community action serves a larger purpose, everybody wins," Daniel states. "This is why we are working with MakeSense to adapt the topic of engagement to the digital age. Now the topic of refugee inclusion is one that has touched the hearts of our community as well as many people we know, but few know where and how to help. We want to create low entry barrier opportunities for those people."
Go along and find out more about how social entrepreneurship is tackling issues surrounding refugees and asylum seekers. The event is free and kicks off at 19:00. For details, head to MakeSense's website.
Want to know more about other innovative approaches that are assisting refugees? Check out our other articles from our RESET Special 'Refugee Aid 2.0'.