In Iran, a lot of Roshanak Ghaleb’s dreams had to do with art. But one day, after earning her bachelor’s degree in that field, she had to pile all those dreams in a plexiglass boat and hope that she and her husband made it across the Mediterranean Sea to safety.
They did, but only barely. The boat sunk, but the Ghalebs were saved by the Turkish coast guard. Slowly they made their way to Germany.
And in May, Ancora sponsored an art exhibit featuring Roshanak’s work. Since she has been in Germany, she has primarily painted realistic paintings with pastels, charcoal and pencil, but she has experience in watercolor, oil and acrylic too. For the past few months, Roshanak has taught art to a group of refugees, and at the exhibit, she sold four paintings.
Ancora is proud of Roshanak and other refugees who are using art as a way to make a new home in Germany.
We’re excited about the progress happening on a creative community center in Weilerswist! This fantastic facility will bring a multitude of projects and activities to refugees, including:
- a homework club
- art activities
- a rock climbing wall
- social gatherings
- sport programs
- German language classes
- cooking and sewing classes
- medical first aid and CPR
- biking safety courses
We’re excited about the sense of home and community this will build among the refugees. Construction is happening now, and we’re hoping to open very soon!
Refugees who live in apartments in Weilerswist, Germany, now have a plot of land to call their own, thanks to a new Ancora community garden project. The project gives refugees the opportunity to grow their own vegetables, herbs or flowers in six newly constructed boxes filled with potting soil and covered with protective glass panes. Through the mobilization of German volunteers, the Ancora team also built scalable boxes, transported them to refugee homes and taught the refugees gardening skills. It’s a great way to get the community more connected and make Germany feel more like home.
For months, Ancora has been working on ways to help refugees make a real home in Germany. That’s the purpose of Uncharted Grounds, a new coffee roastery getting close to opening in Kandern, Germany.
Coffee transcends culture, for sure — so in a way, it’s a little taste of home. But it will also give refugees a way to work and provide a living for their families. The coffee roasted there will be for sale and will also supply the Uncharted Grounds café set to open in Berlin in mid July.
Much like the story of refugees, the story of the roastery wasn’t without adversity. There was a two-month delay in buildout, a lot of red tape and many hoops to jump through to get the business up and running. But this week, employees finally completed training in roasting and are ready to go. And as they continue to work, they and others will get more training and certification in roasting and barista skills. They will also have the chance to study German for free in their downtime through the online LinguaTV available at the roastery.
Want to try some and help refugees make a home in Germany? You can order bags of beans (in increments of 250g, 500g and 1 kg, with pricing depending on origin) very soon on the roaster’s website or purchase some in-person at the roastery located at Rebmättleweg 4, 79400 Kandern, DE. Initial samples have been met with rave reviews. We hope you’ll like it too – both the coffee and the heart behind it.
It won’t be too much longer before you’ll be able to try Ancora’s new coffee that is Roasted for a Reason. These are exciting times, as the build-out for the coffee-roasting training facility is underway in Kandern, Germany. Ancora has plans to start roasting and training roasters soon, and, so far, the coffee samples have gotten rave reviews. We hope you’ll like it too – both the coffee and the heart behind it.
Ahmed loves to run. When he was unable to participate in a language course due to problems with his eyesight, Ancora wondered if there might be a German runner who would be interested in running with him to help him practice speaking German while they ran. As it turns out, there was.
Axel has been training Ahmed now since the beginning of July. They set a target of the Frankfurt marathon on Oct. 29 — Ahmed’s first-ever marathon.
In spite of a foot injury less than two weeks before the marathon, then battling blisters during half the marathon, Ahmed successfully completed the race in a time of 3 hours and 25 minutes. It was a great result for his first marathon and a major accomplishment to have finished the race. Ahmed and Axel should be very proud of the hard work they have put into training, both in running and in German language.
In reflecting on the marathon and on his training, Ahmed shared that he is tremendously thankful for Axel and the kindness Axel has shown to him, as well as for Ancora’s support to bring them together. For Ahmed, running is a way of relieving stress and freeing his mind, but running together also provides the opportunity for friendship and learning a new language. After a short break to recover from the marathon, Axel and Ahmed look forward to carrying on and setting their next goals together.
The new Ancora language learning lab is up and running, and students are enjoying it. The classes, offered two days a week, give refugee students the opportunity to learn German language concepts in computer-based lessons, then practice what they’ve learned in a conversation café setting.
The skills they are picking up range from learning the alphabet to working toward several levels of language certification. For those who are uncomfortable with computers, it’s also a chance to work on basic computer skills.
Two men and five women have joined the first class, which started in mid-October. More than 10 volunteers help run the program, offering childcare, helping with German conversation, setting up the computers and providing snacks.