Project Matrah was a 2017 Heer workshop charity action project that aimed to find practical solutions to the European refugee crisis. It explored complexities of establishing a more receptive work place for integration. The Heer workshop began by inviting the collaboration of recent refugees from Afghanistan and Syria with a tailoring background. Mattresses (“matrah”) were then co-manufactured in multiple sessions, using upholstery fabrics obtained from various regions of the participants’ origins. The goals of the project included training refugees in Heer’s profession - thereby cultivating practical job skills - as well as fostering cultural sensitivity and navigating language barriers. Matrah culminated in an auction sale that communicated a sense of accomplishment to the participants for having produced saleable goods in their prospective new home country. The proceeds funded the project.
Primary collaborators for the matrah project were Nadid Farza Far, Fatema Azimi, Arefe Hosseini, Nadine Rasuli, Fahime Karim, Manure Mohamadi, Mohamad Kastantin, Tarq Saleh, Zakaria Edelbi, Hossein Akbari. Project producers were Philine Rinnert, Bram Loss, Kristin Loschert, and Thomas Avenhaus.
These experiences are documented, and available at projektmatrah.de.
Wir Zusammen (“We United”) is a networking initiative of the German federal government. This platform supports the integration of refugees into the German job market.
Wir Zusammen was established by corporations in Germany to provide an entry path for refugees, and to incentivize their hiring by prospective employers. Heer joined Wir Zusammen following his own 2017 charity action project, matrah. For the Heer business, Wir Zusammen provided the opportunity to train the Syrian tailor Mohamd Kastantin from matrah in Heer’s profession, offering him initial employment as well as future job market traction. By that, the initiative gives concrete prospects for starting a new life in German