SINGA Deutschland connects newcomers, often unexpectedly coming to Germany as refugees, and locals by creating opportunities for them to participate in and co-create projects and activities together.
By building on the interests and skills of the community, all members are able to contribute to the creation of a truly inclusive society through a variety of innovative programs, enabling the social and professional exchange of information, ideas and networks.
Our current programs include Professional Mentoring, Language Exchange and a variety of Social & Cultural Events.
SINGA Deutschland is part of an international network of organisations in France, Canada, Belgium and Germany that connects newcomers and locals through a variety of innovative projects and activities.
The first SINGA organisation was founded in 2012, in Paris. SINGA means “connect” in Lingala, a language spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the time the goal was to create more opportunities for refugees and locals to meet and create projects together on an even playing field. SINGA has won a number of awards and prizes for the success of its innovative and inclusive programs and has managed to reach a network of over 15, 000 people worldwide. Since SINGA’s initial inception four years ago, a number of local SINGA organisations have been established across the world. While each organisation operates independently and according to the needs of their local context, SINGA stands for a clear set of inclusive values that are adhered to internationally. All organisations are part of an international network that regularly exchanges know-how, best-practices and tools.
This article highlights SINGA’s work.
Both newcomers and locals living in Germany are interested in meeting new people with whom they can connect over common interests and practice speaking German and other new languages. While building a new life in Germany, the opportunity to connect with local networks for social and professional development is exceptionally important for many newcomers and locals. As new people come together, the potential for new and innovative projects increases as does the need for the right space in which people meet on eye level and with mutual respect.
On a professional level, despite the fact that many newcomers are experts in their fields and speak multiple languages, they are often unable to rejoin their profession, landing instead in positions that do not reflect their experience and qualifications. The German labour market is also in need of a qualified and motivated workforce and many employers are open to hiring from this new pool of talent. This has however proved more challenging than desired due to a severe lack of contact and information. Among other things, there are not enough structured opportunities in which newcomers and potential employers or colleagues can meet on eye level and exchange necessary information and social capital.
Luisa's curiosity for a myriad of migration related topics has brought her to work and study migration, while on the move herself. Whether conducting research, consulting or working for international organisations in Morocco, Turkey or Germany, her work has always involved departing and arriving in new places. She has long been concerned with the question: "How can people be empowered to engage in society to their full potential when arriving in a new place?"
Luisa was inspired to co-found SINGA Deutschland after working with SINGA France.
Naomi studied Spanish and Theatre and has always seen languages as the key to connections. After graduating it, therefore, made sense to move to Brazil to learn a new language and work as a youth workshop facilitator. She has since worked in Bolivia as project coordinator as well as in Peru and Brazil, where she contributed to bring cultural education to a wider more diverse audience of young people and education professionals. Always looking to connect communities, Naomi has recently travelled back to Europe and connected with the SINGA community where she is exploring different answers to the question of how to facilitate cultural inclusion in the public space. Alongside her work with SINGA she is also pursuing a masters in Cultural Diplomacy.
Lisa did her bachelor's degree in communication. During her master studies of European Studies, which also led her to France, she concentrates on the opportunities and challenges of migration in an economic context, as well as on questions about identity and politics of minorities and migrants. Meanwhile she is working in political communications in Berlin and is bringing her collective experience to SINGA. She supports SINGA with Social Media and Public Relations to communicate our own programmes and the projects of the Community to a wider public and carry the spirit of SINGA further.
Sima is a local in Toronto, Heidelberg and Berlin and grew up in a family where migration and mixed identity consistently played a formative role. While writing her M.A. thesis on the international exchange of migration and urbanisation initiatives, Sima also began teaching German to asylum seekers and creating an on and offline community connecting her students with Heidelberg locals and international students, called "Meet & Greet Heidelberg". Interested in how social entrepreneurship can be used to create innovative solutions to existing challenges, Sima recently moved back to Berlin to co-found SINGA Deutschland.
Ghayth has always had an eye for business opportunities. While studying business and project management at the University of Aleppo, he began to work in a variety of sectors ranging from telecommunications to building materials in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Ghayth began working with refugees in 2012 in Syria, Jordan and Turkey primarily in the context of humanitarian aid. After moving to Germany and meeting SINGA, Ghayth was inspired to combine business opportunities and social innovation. He is now especially interested in the promotion of social stability through small-scale projects carried out by newcomers in Germany.
Michael is likely to be focused on more than just one topic. Logically he enrolled in an interdisciplinary master´s program after finishing a BSc in economics and psychology: European Studies – with a major in EU politics and migration processes. His main academic challenge is questioning how people could claim their interests in our society. This academic focus is combined with a gentle readiness to listen and a proper need to communicate. According to these experiences Michael is mainly engaged in supporting the SINGA's community by communicating our activities.
Vinzenz has worked on topics relating to how migration and economies interact and inform each other. During studies, his regional foci has been the Middle East, where he also spent over a year living and working. Jordanian sign language is one of his special abilities. Apart from this, Vinzenz generally enjoys working in interdisciplinary teams and has, despite his studies in humanities, built close to everything from alternative microinsurance strategies to paletts for dental chairs. SINGA seemed, then, like the logical next step.
Rebecca has studied literature and cultural studies in France, Austria and the UK; she completed a PhD on transcultural French modernism with a focus on representations of vulnerability and empowerment. She has also taught French as a foreign language to students from the age of 12 to 82. After arriving in Berlin, she volunteered with several local organisations to support newcomers’ inclusion. Her engagement with SINGA follows directly from her background in the humanities: in both her research and teaching, she has always explored ways in which cultural encounters foster innovation and creativity.
Fabian joined SINGA right after his return to Berlin from Brazil where he taught at a universitz. As Coordinator of SINGA’s Living Room events Fabian lives out his passion for bringing people together and creating a communicative atmosphere to make everyone feel welcome. Having worked abroad on three different continents has exposed him to people from a variety of backgrounds which makes Berlin his favourite city with all its cultural diversity. In SINGA he has also found a place to apply his affinity for communication trends and graphic design to make our interactions more efficient and more beautiful.