This German tech school is providing refugees with skills, training, and support.
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Germany is a champion in welcoming refugees inside its borders.

A recent global survey even confirmed the people of Germany as having some of the most welcoming attitudes toward refugees in the entire world.

Awesome work, Germany!


This one's for you!

Once refugees make it to Germany (or any country) and apply for asylum, their next crucial hurdle arises: getting a job.

Keep in mind, these are people who have left their entire lives back home, undergone an arduous and dangerous journey, and arrived in a foreign country to create a brand new life. So, where do they even start?

Enter Anne Riechert, digital strategist and founder of Berlin's Peace Innovation Lab.

When the shirt says it all. Image via TEDx Talks/YouTube.

Riechert wondered whether her tech experience could help newly arrived refugees, so she visited their homes to better understand the problem. That's when she met Muhammed, a talented IT student from Baghdad who wanted to develop his skills, but had no access to a laptop.

This inspired the idea for Refugees on Rails, a grassroots movement designed to teach refugees the programming language Ruby on Rails. But again, the whole no-laptop thing was still an issue.

Unfazed, Riechert took to social media and got to work.

This may be how things started. GIF from "You've Got Mail."

With a little Facebook magic, Riechert was able to secure 100 laptops from her friends. And the numbers don't stop there. She also recruited 15 teachers, 30 volunteers, and 30 possible partners. She even found two UX designers to help create their website.

Clearly, they were off to a booming start. The program had 50 students in Berlin, and they were expanding into other cities.

That's when the movement split into two: Refugees on Rails and the ReDI School of Digital Integration.

Anne and her ReDI co-founder, Ferdi van Heerden, found that nothing beat actually working with the students in person. It also allowed them to train an important job-hunting skill: networking.

Students and teachers hitting the ground running. Image via TEDx Talks/YouTube.

Since starting in February 2016, the school has provided its growing student body with the resources they need in order to be successful: computers, access to co-working spaces, mentors from the local startup scene, courses in business intelligence and digital entrepreneurship, and most importantly, a connection to potential internships and jobs.

No doubt this program will help solve the shortage of IT professionals in Germany. Couple that with the plan of local lawmakers to pass the first-ever bill integrating refugees into the country's economy, and you have a recipe for success.

But more than just helping with their professional lives, ReDI is giving refugees a chance to find creative solutions to everyday problems.

One of the students, Rami Rahawi, even came up with an ingenious idea to help fellow refugees learn to speak German: an educational karaoke app.

This could be how we learn other languages. GIF via "Top Gun."

That kind of idea has the potential to help anyone, anywhere. Imagine what ReDI's students will think up next!

Opportunities like this have the potential to benefit not only refugees but also society as a whole.

When we come together and welcome all members of the human race with open arms, we're rewarded with valuable insights and ideas that can help the entire world.

What an inspiring bunch! Image via TEDx Talks/YouTube.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

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via Beto el Curioso / YouTube

It must be terribly unnerving to wake up one day and realize the government thinks you're dead, even though you're alive and kicking. You'd figure that if you were declared dead and weren't, you'd have some say in the matter.

However, for a woman in France, things haven't been that easy.

Jeanne Pouchain, 58, who lives in the village of St. Joseph, near Lyon, had a rude awakening three years ago when she received a letter from the Lyon court of appeals declaring that her family members need to pay the money she allegedly owed.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.