How one woman rallied other refugees to help African students fleeing the war in Ukraine

No one understands the process of forced migration better than people who have been through it.

refugees, forced migration
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Asmara's World helps BIPOC refugees through the resettlement process.

When news came of African students facing discrimination and abuse while fleeing Ukraine after the Russian invasion last February, community organizer Asmara knew her Germany-based charity dedicated to helping refugees could help.

With the experience Asmara’s World has gained since 2016, they were able to quickly mobilize volunteers, funds, and buses—and a wave of online support via social media—to help 120 students evacuate to Germany.

“Facebook, but especially Instagram, was a great platform where subscribers were made aware of the problem in a very short time and donated over €20,000 within 48 hours, which made the evacuation possible in the first place,” Asmara tells Upworthy. The group also used WhatsApp to communicate directly with the students fleeing. In the months since, Asmara’s World has helped hundreds more young Africans fleeing Ukraine with basics such as housing clothing and hygiene items as they start to rebuild their lives.

The war in Ukraine has dominated the headlines, but the refugee crisis reaches far beyond its borders. At the start of 2022, more than 82 million people were displaced worldwide by war, conflict and other crises. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed that number to over 100 million.

Since no single entity can manage that many upended lives, refugee response requires a combination of large, global organizations and local, grassroots efforts to ensure our fellow humans find a safe home and the ability to sustain themselves.

That’s where Asmara’s World comes in. No one understands the process of forced migration better than people who have been through it, and Asmara’s World is made up primarily of refugees or people who have a migration background themselves. Members originally came from Eritrea, Senegal, Gambia, Cap Verde, Poland, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Iran, and they advise and support refugees through evacuations, deportation prevention, language learning and more.

“Asmara’s World serves as a bridge builder between cultures and supports both institutions and individuals in developing understanding for the different concerns and wishes,” Asmara tells Upworthy. She says the organization explicitly pursues an “empowerment approach” in advising and supporting refugees in social matters. Refugees are smart and resourceful and eager to learn—they just need the opportunities to put their skills to use.

In addition to the primary concern of getting people housed and fed, one of the main goals of Asmara’s World is to make sure refugees are able to receive the education they need to be successful in their new home, such as learning the German language.

“They need to reach B2 language level as soon as possible, in order to apply to universities,” says Asmara. “They need to fulfill this first.” (B2 is an advanced level of fluency necessary for higher education.)

Then there’s the tragic reality of what caused them to flee in the first place.

“Many are psychologically exhausted, traumatized,” says Asmara. “Asmara's World offers them a safe space and the opportunity to be empowered and to create concrete solutions.” From professional help to legal advice, Asmara’s World accompanies refugees through the bureaucratic process, but also serves as an understanding, empathetic source of counseling and support—which, sadly, is a continuing need even after they are safe from war.

“Many BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and People of Color] are wandering around Europe without protection and do not know where to go, as they are asked everywhere to return to their countries of origin, although they have not lived there for several years and have become adults in Ukraine,” says Asmara. Even if they wanted to return to their countries of origin, it wouldn’t be possible for most. “The families have gone into debt to pay for their studies in Ukraine and are broke.”

And, of course, every step of the refugee’s journey requires money. Asmara’s World uses Facebook and Instagram to raise awareness and call for donations and WhatApp to organize activities and share information, but social media also serves as a valuable source of networking with other non-profits. As word spread of the organization’s efforts early in the war, Asmara’s World began receiving donations through aid and human rights organization Medico International, which helped fund rescue buses and basic humanitarian aid.

The refugee crisis won’t be solved overnight, but with continued support, groups like Asmara’s World can help people who are forced to flee violence find a peaceful home where they not only survive, but also thrive.


Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.


Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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