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People MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Refugee Info 003

Get to know the newcomers, activists and volunteers we met in Athens, Berlin and London, as they share their personal experiences of refuge, welcome and the digital city.


Kelly, Sophia & Bernadette

MCH LSE Digital Cityof Refuge Berlin Migration Matters 01 Marcia Chandra

Kelly, Sophia and Bernadette, Migration Matters
Neukölln, Berlin, September 2018

During the 2015 refugee crisis, the way that the media was reporting on migration topics, we felt that there was a lack of bigger trends and contexts. People were dealing with the everyday 'weather' of migration but not the overall 'climate'. And all of a sudden people that weren't talking about this before now wanted new information rather than new opinions. That led to a new type of conversation happening.

Migration Matters helps create more nuanced conversation, going beyond pro and con, by getting research and new perspectives about migration out there in really fun, accessible short videos.

We get a lot of constructive comments on Youtube, and then you get others that are just clearly trolling the internet for any sign of what they call this ‘globalist mindset’ or ‘fake news.’ They just spam us with horrible emoticons and comments like, we're funded by the liberal globalist media. Even in Berlin, a pretty progressive city, it's getting more polarized, more intense. There are more demos happening now. At the last one people were screaming, "We hate the AfD*!" And I remember thinking, is that the way? We want to give people confidence to approach people with different viewpoints on migration without having to lead with 'you're a racist.' Ok, you want borders but just so you know borders have consequences that you maybe haven't thought about, maybe even consequences for yourself as a native in this country.

*’Alternative for Germany,’ a far-right political party

(hostility)

MCH LSE Digital Cityof Refuge Berlin Sophia Kiron 01 Marcia Chandra

I also work at Kiron Open Higher Education, where we help refugees prepare to transfer to university by creating academic curriculums from the online courses on EdEx of Coursera, for example. You still need a high school diploma in order to qualify to go to university in Germany, that's not something that we can make up for, but we have partnerships where the students can earn the certificates for free, and then our partner universities will recognise their transcripts. Right now we have a little over 4,000 refugee students on our platform based in Germany, and refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

We got a lot of press when it started because it was something really innovative. What’s cool about it is that digitalisation in education can really support a lot of disadvantaged groups in society, not just refugees, and we're working with the Government now to expand the program. – Sophia

(digital skills, Berlin)

June 2020 Update — Migration Matters has taken a step forward in terms of professionalization, hiring our first two employees and taking part in two EU projects this year. One is the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange program where we are currently finalizing a new series on migration & climate change that will be used in virtual exchanges with students from around the world. The second is a 3-year project called I Am European where we, together with six other partners, are raising awareness about migration among youth, teachers, and journalists in 8 European countries through social media campaigns and other global education activities. Sophia is also now no longer working at Kiron, taking on the role of Managing Director of Migration Matters since January 2020. All of the Migration Matters videos are available for free educational use via YouTube.

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