Urban development, Migration

Alternative Employment Agency for Refugees


Who is behind this?

Melanie Krebs

St.Urban - Netzwerk für Stadtangelegenheiten


Who is joining forces?

Communitism, Athens


Made in Sishane



Bi'bak, Berlin



Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

In many European cities, especially in marginalized quarters, craftspeople have problems to make ends meet. They also fear their craft is becoming extinct. Tension between old dwellers and shop owners and refugees can be high. We aim to connect both groups through establishing cooperations between local craftspeople and newcomers to their mutual benefit: Giving refugees a possibility to earn money and find a way to integrate into their new society and helping craftspeople to find new co-workers.

Where will your idea take place?

Berlin, Germany; Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey

Why does Europe need your idea?

The increasing number or refugees in European cities often leads to social tensions. While the refugees are looking for jobs, local craftspeople, often with a “migration background” themselves, complain about not finding interested apprentices and workers for their workshops because only few people are interested in crafts anymore. Language gaps, prejudices and sometimes just lack of information make it difficult for both groups to get in contact.

What is your impact?

We aim to connect refugees and local craftspeople in order to provide an opportunity for the refugees to work in the field they already practiced or they are interested in and for the craftspeople to get workers who might inspire new products or bring new business ideas. There are also possibilities to develop an “alternative job market” where refugees exchange their work against goods and other help. The project will also raise awareness to the situation of refugees in the quarter.

How do you get there?

In a first step we identify craftspeople and refugees in selected urban quarters, who are interested to work together and share their experiences. Individual backgrounds and ideas of both groups will put together into “files”. Then we will build a mobile structure, an “Alternative Employment Agency” with the help of refugees and craftspeople. This structure looks like a big desk that can be transported by bike where all collected “files” can be examined by interested craftsmen and refugees and a matching process will be moderated. The “Agency” is introduced with a local festival where people can get together informally. The matching proocess and the further contacts will be documented so in the end we can present the outcomes and best practices on a website and in a workshop.

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?

Our two main target groups are craftsmen and refugees living together in the same urban quarter. In a wider sense we will approach the population of the quarter as a whole raising awareness the situation of the newcomers looking for their space in the community and for the local craftspeople which are struggling to make ends meet. All quarters we work in can be classified as “marginalized”, but are under way of gentrification so the communities are quite diverse and tensions can be high.

What makes your idea stand apart?

Our project is not a charity project, but a project that enables two marginalized groups – craftspeople in small business and refugees looking for a job – to work together for their mutual benefit. The idea focuses not on solving one problem but connecting two different problems in order to find innovative solutions for both. The main aim is to provide the two groups with contacts for further work together. By not concentrating on one city we will explore which solutions work where.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Travel costs for participants (work in different cities, final meeting in Berlin) 15.000 Mobile job center (construction, materials, shipping, costs on side) 10.000 Mobile workstations (construction, materials, shipping, costs on side, additional material) 10.000 Administration and documentation (office rent, accountancy, press work in all three cities, web administration) 15.000 Publication of the process and the results (website, final meeting) 5000,-

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

We are still looking for experience in the field of work with craftspeople and job market for refugees in different European countries. We would love to share our experiences with others working in the same field and establish long-term connections between NGOs and individuals working in the same field.



Idea created on March 7, 2016
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

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