Flight for Life – Telling the Stories of Refugees


Ten Russian students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Petersburg State University (SPSU) together with ten journalism students from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University came to Hamburg on June 8, 2016 for a joint project week.

Together with students of the International Media Center they produced multimedia stories about the destiny and the life of refugees in Hamburg. Intensive preparative works by all students at the three universities preceded the project week in Hamburg. Its topic ‘Flight for Life’ ties in with last year’s program ‘Transmedia Storytelling – Telling the Story of Refugees in Hamburg‘, which had been carried out in bilateral cooperation between students of the IMC and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at SPSU.

This time it was of particular interest to the students to see in which ways Germany’s – and especially Hamburg’s – exposure with refugees has changed within the past year. Political decisions, successes and failures in dealing with growing numbers of refugees are among the topics that have been covered by groups of three to four students each from the three universities. What can a city like Hamburg accomplish and achieve in order to reduce the tensions that had been rising among the population due to increasing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers. It is not only about first supplies of food, clothing or sleeping berths for the refugees, but also about medical treatment and psychological care after an often arduous and traumatic transition from their native lands to Europe. However, the focus in all stories produced by the students are the refugees themselves, their fears, aspirations, tragedies, expectations, disappointments and despair. The students conducted audio, video and scripted interviews with refugees from countries like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.



By Ryan Connelly Holmes
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As tens of thousands of Syrians flock across the southern border into Jordan, they find a healthcare system that is ill-prepared to meet their needs. 


By Aleksandra Elfacheva, Nikita Mandhani and Nina Halbig
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As soon as the sun sets each night, more than one million Syrian refugees in Germany drink the first few sips of water after hours of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.


By Darina Gribova, Aruna Valliappan, Thomas Vogel and Kolja Warnecke
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Sitting on a bench overlooking Outer Alster Lake in central Hamburg, Abdullah Abdalal remembers his childhood years in Damascus, Syria's capital city, playing video games, eating family dinners and walking his dog.


By Vladislav Chirin, Zineb Doubli and Patrick Martin
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More than 55,000 Afghans have applied for asylum in Germany in the last five years. Since the Syrian war refugee crisis broke out, Afghans have faced more difficulties in attaining asylum. For some of them deportation means a death sentence.


By Bian Elkhatib, Luiza Vafina and Pia Lorenzen
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Thamer Imad is 22. Mohamed is 46. Both are Syrian refugees living in Hamburg. But there is a crucial difference: One speaks German, one does not.


By Catherine Barney, Tanja Drozdzynski and Harry Huggins
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Nobody was planning on 500 newcomers arriving daily to Hamburg in the latter half of 2015. Hamburg has a general housing problem and finding an apartment in the city is challenging for everyone.


By Mona Klarkowska, Alina Kurpel and Enrica Nicoli Aldini
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A young Iranian woman is looking for directions in Hamburg, Germany. She asks strangers on the street for help, but to no avail. Fatemeh Abdollahzadeh has just arrived in Germany.


By Kat Lonsdorf, Sarah Apel, Arthur Kropanev and Philipp Meuser
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Tarek Gharib leans against the wall in the hallway of Café Refugio, a church-basement-turned-coffeehouse and meeting place for refugees in the southern Hamburg neighborhood of Harburg. 


By Daria Malitskaya, Stephanie Golden and Roman Azadzoy
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Hakim Chohbishat, living in Germany for the past four years, said the oppression his people face has been forgotten. However, this migrant did not flee from Syria, Afghanistan, or Iraq, he left a country once known as Al-Ahwaz.


By Max Greenwood, Kristina Bosslar and Viktoriia Fomenko
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Public fears that refugees could turn to criminal activity are at an all-time high. But instances of crime among migrants in Germany are no higher than they were before the refugee crisis. In Hamburg, Germans and refugees alike are working to keep it that way.


By Jannika Grimm, Polina Popova and Raquel Zaldivar
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On a bright, sunny day in Harburg, a southern borough of Hamburg, Germany, Farwazan Chelozai, an Afghan woman in her late twenties, is sitting with her brother in a sunny room in an Erstaufnahme fur Asylsuchende, or reception center for asylum seekers. 

For further information about the project please visit: http://theflightforlife.com/



Trilateral Project Week Flight for Life //
Telling the Stories of Refugees, June 8 – 15, 2016
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