The Twin Star Project extends a helping hand to migrants with legal status in Europe who have fled war or economic hardship in the Middle East and Africa. Our goal is to enable migrants become productive and well-integrated members of society by providing interim financial assistance and employment support.
After migrants land in Europe they are taken to refugee camps where they are processed and receive a permit of stay. At the camps where they live for their first months they get food, medical care and language courses. The first step in their new country has been made.
The trouble starts when they leave the camps. This is the critical phase that will determine long-term success or failure. They have no financial resources and must get work to support themselves which is incredibly hard for several reasons. Few manage to find a temporary low-paying job let alone permanent employment. They end up homeless and impoverished on the streets – people hanging over the edge of a cliff.
The aim of the Twin Star Project is to give these folks the hand which pulls them onto terra firma, and sets them on the road to a self-sustaining and productive life. We step in to assist migrants during the critical period after they leave the camp and help them find their footing in the workplace and society.
Small Measures, Big Impact
How? All of our migrants, our Twin Stars, require a financial investment: to help with rent, buy food or clothes, pay travel expenses, take language courses and cover miscellaneous expenses. Not all of them need the same kind of assistance. Some are already working piecemeal but need contacts to potential employers who can give them full-time contracts. Some cannot read or write so need a more intensive engagement. All of them require psychological and emotional support — they need to talk and be heard. They need to feel valued as dignified human beings again.
Our Ask is for funding to cover the following requirements of the individuals who are already in the Twin Star Program: - Rent - Living expenses (food and clothing) - Travel expenses - Language classes - Legal advice - Therapy/counseling - Outreach to potential employers
The Twin Star Project is in the pilot phase - there are currently 5 individuals that we are supporting. We would like to scale it up so that we can help at least 25 individuals a year. This requires funding.
What we have discovered is that by helping one person onto his or her feet, we are also helping a family in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The ripples spread outward and bring benefits to a network of people.
Our Twin Stars have experienced tremendous hardship in Africa, the Middle East and Europe — and their struggles are not over. Yet, suffering has not made them give up, nor are they bitter or cynical. Rather they possess strength, kindness and charm. Their capacity to endure with dignity in the face of terrible suffering and huge obstacles is humbling. It is a tribute to their outstanding characters and to the tenacity of the human spirit. We continue to learn from them and delight in the love and support they show us.
Whenever I speak to one, he ends the conversation with the statement: “Mama Africa, thank you for my life.“