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#IMadeYourBag: Khaldoun

Khaldoun, a mimycri worker
Picture credit (all pictures in this post): Judith Affolter

Second round of #IMadeYourBag! Today, we’re having you meet Khaldoun, who works as tailor for mimycri and who came to Germany three years ago.

A real professional

Khaldoun is from Damascus in Syria, lives in Germany since three years and, since a short while, stays in his own apartment in Berlin-Lichtenberg. He is one of mimycri’s tailors since one and a half years, but has already worked as such for 16 years in his home country. He sewed women’s, men’s and children’s clothing for brands such as adidas as well as suits. Backpacks, bags and our robust boat material were new to him at first, but of course they did not fluster his experienced hands.

In his free time, Khaldoun studies for his level B2 (“vantage or upper intermediate”) German exam. Moreover, he plays in the 2nd table soccer league for the Kreuzberg club “Pörx”. In Syria, he also did judo for a long time and would love to take it on again once he finished his German lessons.

Knowing what war means

Khaldoun reminds us of how good and safe life in Germany is and that this cannot be taken for granted. “In Germany, you can live in dignity, unlike our country. For example because of Baschar al-Assad and our state you cannot live easily. They steal everything. Here, you can work and live and enjoy life. You can save your life for the future, in our country you can’t”, he tells us.

“Your grandma, grandpa really know what war is. What that means. How difficult that is. For example: Right now there is nothing to make a living. It’s too cold, but there is no oil, no gas to heat the apartment. No gas, no oil, no electricity.”

He shows us that we cannot imagine the reality of war and must be grateful for that. He did not want to leave Syria, but had to flee in order to survive. Now, his mother is alone and he is very worried about her, because she is old and sick. Khaldoun wants to take her to Germany, but so far could not find a solution for doing so.

How to arrive in Germany?

The 34 year old recounts his experience: “My journey from Syria to here was very hard. Too difficult. What happened and is still happening is very, very sad. It’s important for people to know this. In the news you only see 1 percent.” He is grateful for having been given safety here and for the opportunity to work for mimycri.

However, building a new life in a foreign country is not easy. In Germany, Khaldoun experiences prejudices against people of Arabic origin and finds it difficult to make German friends. Hospitality works very differently in Syria. “If I had many German friends, this would quickly improve a lot for me, for example my language. But not only the German language, other things. Everything.”

Khaldoun with other mimycri workers

mimycri as base for integration

Khaldoun enjoys working in mimycri’s international team, friendships are easy here. He talks about how we helped with his moving and how we interact with each other at eye level. And even though it is great to hear about these experiences: Even with mimycri, misunderstandings and disagreements happen. We witness every day that integration is not a one way street, but needs to work both ways – and, at the end of the day, brings a lot of joy.

Integration concerns everyone and needs to be lived in society, in every organization and in every company. What are your experiences with integration? How can mimycri help you with stories and tips? We believe that an open and cooperative society is only possible if we join forces. We are looking forward to your ideas!


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