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Young Chilean architect builds houses to last

Earlier this year, fires tore through Chile’s port city of Valparaíso, killing 15 people and burning nearly 3,000 homes to the ground.

Since then, 28-year-old Carolina Moraes, an architect who specializes in social and sustainable housing, has been volunteering her time to help some of the families who lost their homes.

She’s not settling for short-term solutions, but is teaching the locals to help themselves.

Listen to the report by Eilís O’Neill from Valparaíso, Chile:

Carolina Moraes is building houses that are better than what local residents live in before the fire (Photo: E. O'Neill)

Carolina Moraes is building houses that are better than what local residents live in before the fire (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Cerro Merced is a hill in Valparaíso that was hit particularly hard by the fire (Photo: E. O'Neill)

Cerro Merced is a hill in Valparaíso that was hit particularly hard by the fire (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Many of the families affected by the fire had no legal title to the land they were living on (Photo: E. O'Neill)

Many of the families affected by the fire had no legal title to the land they were living on (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Adobe and stucco are essential materials (Photo: E. O'Neill)

Adobe and stucco are essential materials for volunteer Per Johansson (Photo: E. O’Neill)

 

Date

Tuesday 22.07.2014 | 12:42

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Soccer mentor gives future stars plan B

Angelo Daut loves soccer so much, he’s willing to get up early on a Saturday morning to stand on the sidelines in the rain and watch teenagers kick the ball. Some of those teens, however, may go on to become Germany’s next biggest stars.

Angelo, however, doesn’t work with young footballer players for the fame and glory. Rather, he’s focused on developing their character and encouraging them to continue their education. He wants to make sure they have plenty of opportunities – even after their soccer career.

Listen to the report by Daniel Heinrich in Bielefeld:

Watch Daniel Heinrich’s video to see Angelo Daut in action:

 

 

 

 

 

Date

Tuesday 15.07.2014 | 12:07

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Selling Afghan stitchery in Germany

Afghanistan has seen violence for years and many of the women and children in the war-stricken country lack the education to get good jobs and put enough food on the table. That’s where Zhora Comes in, a young Afghan woman living in Germany. Her plan to help the women in her home country is making Germany’s fashion more colorful.

Listen to the report by Falk Steinborn in Siegen, Germany:

Many children in Afghanistan are working rather than going to school (Photo: Zohra Soori-Nurzad)

Many children in Afghanistan are working rather than going to school (Photo: Zohra Soori-Nurzad)

That's where Zohra comes in. She is selling colorful scarves in Germany that were stitched by Afghan women to send the revenues back to the Afghan families (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

That’s where Zohra comes in. She is selling colorful scarves in Germany that were stitched by Afghan women to send the revenues back to the Afghan families (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Zohra also goes to German schools and talks to the children about the Kind of life women and their children in Afghanistan are facing (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Zohra also goes to German schools and talks to the children about the kind of life women and their children in Afghanistan are facing (Photo: Falk Steinborn)

Date

Wednesday 09.07.2014 | 13:50

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Somali activist campaigns against female genital mutilation

The UN has called it a human rights violation; but the practice of cutting the sex organs of young girls and women, also known as female genital mutilation – or FGM – is still practiced on girls around the world. Until recently, governments have been unwilling to engage with the issue because it is deeply rooted in the culture that practice it. However, more and more women are speaking out about the practice in a bid to stop it for good.

One of them is Muna Hassan, a young Somali woman born in Sweden and raised in Britain. Despite extreme opposition to her cause, she is campaigning against the practice of FGM.

Listen to the report by Lyndsey Melling in Bristol:

Muna's family is Somali but she was born in Sweden and moved to the UK when she was 9 years old, where she grew up in a diverse community in Bristol (Photo: Lyndsey Melling).

Muna’s family is Somali but she was born in Sweden and moved to the UK when she was 9 years old, where she grew up in a diverse community in Bristol (Photo: Lyndsey Melling). 

Muna's teacher Lisa Zimmerman encouraged Muna and three of her friends to enagage with with the issue of female genital mutilation.

Muna’s teacher Lisa Zimmerman encouraged Muna and three of her friends to enagage with with the issue of female genital mutilation (Photo: Lyndsey Melling).

Together with friends, Muna founded the charity "Integrate Bristol" to raise awareness about the issue of female genital mutilation (Photo: Lyndsey Melling).

Together with friends, Muna founded the charity “Integrate Bristol” to raise awareness about the issue of female genital mutilation (Photo: Lyndsey Melling).

Date

Wednesday 02.07.2014 | 06:12

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Soccer gives refugees in San Diego a chance

For many refugee children, attempting to adapt to life in the US can be challenging. Language barriers, cultural differences and post-traumatic stress disorder are all obstacles to overcome on the road to resettlement.

But one young recent graduate from San Diego is attempting to make life a little easier for refugees – through soccer. Twenty-six-year-old Mark Kabban’s soccer program, Yalla, has proven to be a huge success with over 200 children participating since it was founded in 2009.

The project makes the most of the children’s enthusiasm for soccer to improve their prospects in education and work, granting them an opportunity to succeed.

Listen to the report by Mischa Wilmers in San Diego:

Soccer gives refugees in San Diego a chance

Mark with members of a YALLA soccer team

Mark is a role model for his “kids”

Mark at YALLA soccer practice

Succeeding in sports gives the kids the confidence to set their sights high

 

More on YALLA’s website.

(first published August 20, 2013):

Date

Tuesday 24.06.2014 | 15:16

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LGBT activist promotes respect in Parisian schools

When Gary Roustan visits school classes in Paris, he’s the first gay person some of the students have met. As the president of an LGBT organization, he’s fighting homophobia – a year after France legalized gay marriage.

Over the past year, he and other members of the organization haven been invited to speak to students in 128 different high schools about what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Listen to the report by Fabien Jannic-Cherbonnel in Paris:

Gary didn't accept that he was gay at the beginning - his forst contact with homosexuals was at le Mag, the LGBT organization he is now the president of (Photo: F. Jannic-Cherbonnel)

Gary struggled with accepting his homosexuality at first – his first contact with homosexuals was at le Mag, the LGBT organization he now directs (Photo: F. Jannic-Cherbonnel)

The members of Le Mag in Paris not only support each other - they also go out to inform others about gender issues (Photo: F. Jannic-Cherbonnel)

The members of Le Mag in Paris not only support each other – they also go out to inform others about gender issues (Photo: F. Jannic-Cherbonnel)

Date

Wednesday 18.06.2014 | 06:32

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Upcycler in Nigeria weaves colorful livelihood

Do you know what happens to the leftover fabric when your clothes are made? Esther Uwem Etim, 25, from Nigeria wanted to keep valuable materials from going to waste, so she started collecting unused textiles and turning them into beautiful rugs.

As part of the Village Weavers Project, Esther doesn’t upcycle by herself. She’s trained more than 100 low-income women to make the rugs, which are now being sold all over the world. The project isn’t just good for the environment, it provides a livelihood to those in need.

Listen to the report by Nonye Aghaji in Abuja, Nigeria:

Esther brings together beauty and practicality in her work (Photo: N. Aghaji)

Esther brings together beauty and practicality in her work (Photo: N. Aghaji)

Esther has instructed dozens of women on how to weave the rugs (Photo. N. Aghaji)

Esther has instructed dozens of women on how to weave the rugs (Photo. N. Aghaji)

Ruth Zhumbul helps sell the rugs to customers abroad (Photo: N. Aghaji)

Ruth Zhumbul helps sell the rugs to customers abroad (Photo: N. Aghaji)

 

Date

Tuesday 10.06.2014 | 11:05

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Saving France’s beaches from a plastic invasion

About five years ago millions of mysterious plastic pieces started appearing on France’s beautiful beaches. They were filters from nearby water treatment plants, where they play a useful role. But when the treatment plants overflow, the plastic filters escape and end up polluting the environment.

One 25-year-old Frenchman heard about the plastic invasion and decided to help protect the coastal environment. As a volunteer with the Surfrider Foundation Europe he’s been picking up as many plastic pieces as he can find. And that’s not all – he’s on a mission to find out where exactly these filters are coming from to hold the polluters accountable.

Listen to the report from Charlotta Lomas in La Teste-de-Buch, France

(first published October 29, 2013):

Charleric Bailly is tracking down the sources of plastic pollution. (Photo: C. Lomas)

Charleric Bailly is not only picking up as many plastic filters as he can find on France’s beaches but also tracking down the sources of plastic pollution. (Photo: C. Lomas)

These small plastic filters, also known as biocarriers, are used in wastewater treatment plants where they play a useful role. But when the treatment plants overflow, the plastic filters escape and end up polluting the environment. (Photo: C. Lomas)
These small plastic filters, also known as biocarriers, are used in wastewater treatment plants where they play a useful role. But when the treatment plants overflow, the plastic filters escape and end up polluting the environment. (Photo: C. Lomas)

Catherine Gonnot, secretary of Surfrider Foundation Gironde, is appreciative of Charlo’s volunteer work. (Photo: C. Lomas)

Catherine Gonnot, secretary of Surfrider Foundation Gironde, is appreciative of Charlo’s volunteer work. (Photo: C. Lomas)

The Surfrider Foundation organizes events like the recent Beach Day at La Teste-de-Buch, France. (Photo: C. Lomas)

The Surfrider Foundation organizes events like the Beach Day at La Teste-de-Buch, France. (Photo: C. Lomas)

 

Date

Tuesday 03.06.2014 | 14:51

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Rebuilding houses in the Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines last November. It was one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, and in the Philippines it was the deadliest typhoon on record. More than 6,000 people lost their lives, and millions were left homeless.

27-year-old Maria Lukowska was in Warsaw working as a lawyer when she first heard about the disaster, and decided to help the typhoon’s victims. Two weeks later she flew to the Philippines to work as a volunteer and until today she’s still on Bantayan Island organizing aid logistics, health care, and new shelters for families.

Listen to the report from Magdalena Fijalkowska, Bantayan Island, Philippines

Maria Lukowska says that she and the volunteer crew "have managed to distribute over 188 sets of construction materials for the families" (Photo: Maria Lukowska)

Maria Lukowska says that she and the volunteer crew “have managed to distribute over 188 sets of construction materials for the families” (Photo: Maria Lukowska)

Carpenters and construction workers have also been enlisted to help. So far, Maria and the other volunteers have managed to coordinate the construction of more than 700 houses (Photo: Maria Lukowska)
Carpenters and construction workers have also been enlisted to help. So far, Maria and the other volunteers have managed to coordinate the construction of more than 700 houses (Photo: Maria Lukowska)

Maria and the other volunteers have also set up schools so that local children can keep going to classes (Photo: Maria Lukowska)
Maria and the other volunteers have also set up schools so that local children can keep going to classes (Photo: Maria Lukowska)

Maria is passionate about humanitarian work. She’s been volunteering for more than 10 years, and she’s not planning on stopping anytime soon. It’s important work, she says (Photo: Maria Lukowska)
Maria is passionate about humanitarian work. She’s been volunteering for more than 10 years, and she’s not planning on stopping anytime soon. It’s important work, she says (Photo: Maria Lukowska)

"I’m doing this because I believe that it’s something that should be done and I’m really privileged to work with these communities, to feel their spirit, and to be inspired," Maria says (Photo: Maria Lukowska)
“I’m doing this because I believe that it’s something that should be done and I’m really privileged to work with these communities, to feel their spirit, and to be inspired,” Maria says (Photo: Maria Lukowska)

 

Date

Tuesday 27.05.2014 | 16:02

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Saving Germany’s midwives

Going into labor can be an anxious time, especially for first time mothers. In Germany, it’s often the midwife who provides support and helps young women get through the ordeal.

Bianca Kasting, 32, knows this well enough. Last year, when she gave birth to her first child, a midwife was there to hold her hand.

In Germany there are around 21,000 midwives. And although the work they do is vital, they are often underpaid, and have to pay high insurance premiums. The situation has become so bad, that many midwives have joined protests around the country, or left the profession entirely.

Bianca wanted to do something to help, so she launched an online petition, and even cycled around Germany – her baby in tow – to raise awareness about the plight of midwives.

Listen to the report from Michael Hartlep, Germany:

Bianca Kasting has launched an online petition to rescue midwives. (Photo: Jennifer Fraczek)

Bianca Kasting has launched an online campaign to rescue midwives. (Photo: Jennifer Fraczek)

Date

Tuesday 20.05.2014 | 13:49

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