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Syrian Refugee’s Viral Story Found Him a Home

“Mohsen’s story went viral after he was filmed being tripped up by a camerawoman as he fled police near the Hungarian border with Serbia last September. He was carrying his youngest son Zaid, then 7, in his arms at the time, and the two fell sprawling on the ground.

Footage of the incident helped bring him to the attention of a soccer training school in Getafe on the outskirts of Madrid, which found him work as a liaison officer. Zaid, now a year older, as well as 17-year-old Mohammed, who was in Germany at the time, live in the neighborhood with their father.

Mohsen’s wife and two other children remain in Mersin, southern Turkey. The family left the war-torn Syrian town of Deir el-Zor together around four years ago.

“I see my future here,” says Mohsen, whose eyes light up when talking, in broken English, about the local junior team he sometimes helps train, Villaverde-Boetticher.”

Read more from The New York Post

Refugee social media doesn’t always reflect reality

“The Guardian ran an interesting article about Gambian refugees, many of whom are disappointed to discover their lives aren’t much better in Europe than they were at home.

One small detail about these struggling refugees that stuck out to me in the piece: Migrants, worried they will disappoint their families back home, don’t post about their struggles online. “Social media is more commonly used to suggest they are living the high life.” Makes sense to me—online, many of us project a far rosier portrait of our lives than reality would reveal. Add the fact that many of these refugees’ families made financial sacrifices to send them to Europe, and it makes even more sense. ”

Read More on Fast Company’s site

Working From Home – A Photo Essay

These migrant workers travel wherever they can find employment. Some just for a season before returning home, others from city to city or country to country constantly looking for work. The photojournalist Irving Villegas has been documenting the lives of seasonal workers in different countries


Asparagus season

Every year about 270,000 workers come to Germany for the asparagus harvest, most of them from Poland and Romania. Without these people, it would be impossible to reap the crop because most unemployed Germans are not willing to do the job. They work every day for 10 hours, starting at 5am. They earn 27 to 57 cents for each kilo harvested depending on the size of the asparagus

In the grass, lying in the shade of a tree, a woman takes a 10-minute break. Her room key is hung around her neck so she doesn’t lose it

The field work in the sun, rain and cold in Fuhrberg, near Hanover, is backbreaking.

Visit The Guardian to read more and to see the entire Photo Essay

Caitlin Moran asks “What is a Refugee?”

Journalist and author Caitlin Moran recently took to her YouTube channel, Caitlin’s Moranifesto, to ask the questions “What is a Refugee?” and “Why should we be supporting them?”

“Refugees,” Moran says, “are also preventing themselves from being weaponised in the future. How many people who can’t leave Syria and Afghanistan… will be coerced into joining Isis as they take town after town? How many of their children will be forced to embrace extreme Islamist doctrine or face torture, starvation and death?”

Watch the full video below and visit Moran’s website for more insights.

Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora

The George Washington University Museum
April 16–September 4, 2016

In this juried and invitational exhibition, forty-four artists share personal and universal stories of migration—from historic events that scattered communities across continents to today’s accounts of migrants and refugees adapting to a new homeland. Co-organized with the Studio Art Quilt Associates and with assistance from GW’s Diaspora Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Architecture of Remittances

“Problem: How can trends in architecture and urbanization in the daily lives of people respond to the forced migrations in Central America and everywhere through a recognition that they don’t happen in a vacuum but rather stem from root causes that force them? Why are so many people from Central America looking for a better life somewhere else and what do these conceptions mean to architecture?

Solution: Houses built with money earned by migrants in the U.S who sends dollars back to their native country for the construction of their dream house. In the process (of building in small increments over extended periods of time), it creates new architectural typologies that represent both imported construction techniques and architectural styles of other cultures in the vernacular  landscapes of their hometowns…”

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How Refugee Camp Architecture Is Capturing the Power of Shade

“Refugee camps set up by governmental agencies, international organizations like the United Nations and the Red Cross, and NGOs provide a place for displaced people to temporarily access food, water, and shelter. Camps are often set up in an impromptu fashion, designed only to provide basic needs for a short period of time. Tents constructed of inexpensive materials like tarp, which can be easily assembled and transported, provide refugees with places to sleep and protection from the sun and exposure to the elements. However, lacking solid, durable materials and structure, this kind of mass housing solution lasts only about nine years. All too often, the short-term nature of refugee camps leave displaced people without a dignified place to call home.

Recently, architects and designers have been using their knowledge of urban planning and the built environment to envision camps that give refugees more security and protection, helping them recover in more humane conditions. Last year, Architecture for Humanity launched a campaign to raise funds for its “Safe Spaces” project, which envisions a series of welcoming, safe spaces that act as nodal points within the camps. Unlike the often sterile, utilitarian longer-term housing solutions for camps, Architecture for Humanity’s design would incorporate more contextual materials to create a better sense of comfort while shielding refugees from excess heat and daylight. As the nature of refugee camps continue to evolve with the development of new cost-saving materials and technologies, we see more and more proposals that provide better protection from the elements and create a sense of pride and dignity.”

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Home is Ready-to-Wear; an essay by Steven Rugare

“Most 21st century Americans live more like migrants or squatters than we would care to admit. The spaces we call “home” are generic, sometimes shockingly so. Very few of us live in a house custom-designed to our needs by an architect. The suburban landscape of cookiecutter houses is a literary cliché going back to the 1950s, and some urban observers cite the comparatively more diverse housing options of urban centers as one reason for their welcome resurgence in the last few years. In truth, none of this is new. Nor is it actually restricted to the suburbs. In any given decade, American builders and developers have tended to produce and reproduce a fairly limited range of housing types, the mix varying by region. One can walk into just about any 2-family house in Cleveland, and the plan won’t offer many surprises. One may even have developed an eye for distinguishing which decorative details are “original” to the mass development of these buildings in the first 2 decades of the last century. Anyone who looks for an apartment in the many buildings in Lakewood and Edgewater that date from the 1920s will discover a very limited degree of variety within a generic form. Moreover, an apartment building in Lakewood doesn’t look very different from one of similar vintage in Cleveland Heights. And a 2-family house in Cleveland doesn’t look that different from the one my immigrant grandparents lived in when I was a small child. But that was in Utica, New York…”

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Songs of the Syrian Refugees

“With his brow furrowed in concentration, Abu Abdullah rhythmically strums his oud, exploring the core of a melancholic melody. Mohamad Isa Almaziodi’s robust and melismatic voice soars above, full of emotional ornamentation – sighing and repeating, rising and falling – until he runs out of breath and the phrase is forced to finish. In his song, Mohamad is singing about how strange life is, how harsh the nights are: ‘Oh this life is so strange… our home became very far. Very far.’ But before he can finish, he is overcome by homesickness and with his head in his hands, he cries. He is crying for his beloved country and for the father he left behind.

Abu and Mohamad are residents of Zaatari, a refugee camp located just a few kilometres east of Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border. Originally established as a temporary settlement in July 2012 for Syrians fleeing the civil war, Zaatari is now home to an estimated 79,000 refugees and stretches over five square kilometres.”

Read more on Songlines or read coverage in The Guardian

[Text Source: Songlines on YouTube]

Refugee cat’s epic journey to find family

Kunkush the cat was a beloved member of a family who became refugees when they fled Iraq for the safety of Europe. Travelling through Greece, cat and family became separated, sparking an international online search in hopes of reuniting them.

This is Kunkush’s story:
Credits: The Guardian

Refugee cat’s epic journey to find family

Refugee cat’s epic journey to find familyKunkush the cat was a beloved member of a family who became refugees when they fled Iraq for the safety of Europe. Travelling through Greece, cat and family became separated, sparking an international online search in hopes of reuniting them.This is Kunkush the cat's story.

Posted by The Guardian on Viernes, 19 de febrero de 2016