Berlin project 'upcycles' refugee boats into bags

BERLIN (Reuters) - When Abid Ali risked his life in a rubber dinghy in 2015 as he fled Pakistan for Europe, he didn't think that three years later he would be making bags, backpacks and sneakers out of similar boats in a small workshop in Berlin. Ali, a tailor, is working with non-profit organisation Mimycri to upcycle the rubber from abandoned refugee boats found on beaches in Greece after often perilous sea crossings via Turkey. Since Germany received more than a million migrants fleeing war and prosecution in the Middle East, Africa and central Asia in 2015, migration has become a major issue in Germany that is testing Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition

Reuters July 24, 2018 00:07:45 IST
Berlin project 'upcycles' refugee boats into bags

Berlin project upcycles refugee boats into bags

BERLIN (Reuters) - When Abid Ali risked his life in a rubber dinghy in 2015 as he fled Pakistan for Europe, he didn't think that three years later he would be making bags, backpacks and sneakers out of similar boats in a small workshop in Berlin.

Ali, a tailor, is working with non-profit organisation Mimycri to upcycle the rubber from abandoned refugee boats found on beaches in Greece after often perilous sea crossings via Turkey.

Since Germany received more than a million migrants fleeing war and prosecution in the Middle East, Africa and central Asia in 2015, migration has become a major issue in Germany that is testing Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition.

By making fashion accessories out of the rubber dinghies used by refugees, Mimycri wants to create jobs for migrants and give them a chance to show Germans their talents.

In Mimycri's Berlin workshop, Ali carefully measures out a large piece of rubber on a workbench before cutting it precisely to size and skilfully using a sewing machine to craft a bag. Working with the disused rubber boats is not strange, he says.

"Yes, sometimes I think 'yes I came with these boats', but no it isn't too strange for me," he added.

Vera Guenther, Mimycri co-founder, and her project partner Nora Azzaoui came up with their idea in summer 2015 when they were volunteering to help refugees arriving at the Greek island of Chios.

"We want to process the plastic waste that lies on beaches in Greece into something new," Guenther said. "We want to create new job opportunities for the people who came newly here and have great talents."

Environmental groups say the plastic garbage of life vests and rubber boats left by migrants after reaching Greece in 2015 is a forgotten dimension of the refugee crisis with no comprehensive waste-management system on land.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Paul Carrel and Alison Williams)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.