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Brain Drain: Syria's Skilled Youth St...
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

2015

Berlin, Germany

Syria’s brightest minds have been forced to leave the war-torn country for Europe to try to make a new a life for themselves. Doctors, engineers, and artists are among those who flee to Germany. In January and Febraury alone, the EU member state received 10,175 asylum requests from Syrians, according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. However, in Germany these young talented people have to deal with long bureaucratic processes, marginalization and the hurdles of learning a difficult language.

These photos profile young, skilled Syrians who are trying to create new lives for themselves in Berlin. 

ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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Brain Drain 2
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Naabeel, 30, from Aleppo, computer engineer, graduated after a five-years course at the Mamoun Private University for Science and Technology in Aleppo and worked in Egypt in a textile company. He sits on the bench waiting for his turn to register as refugee in Berlin.

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Brain Drain 3
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Moustaf and Nabeel in the emergency facility for refugees in Krupp Street, Moabit, Berlin's north western suburb. They met for the first time in Berlin and now they share the same room in the facility.

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Brain Drain 4
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Moustaf entertains a Syrian child on the football pitch, which was converted into an emergency facility tent.

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Brain Drain 5
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Nabeel helps another refugee from Syria translate a message from the Berlin immigration authorities relating to a doctor's appointment for his wife, who suffers from a kidney disfunction. Nabeel volunteers in the refugee camp to help members of the Syrian community.

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Brain Drain 6
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Nabeel enjoys Mateh tea with other members of the Syrian community, which comprise the majority in the refugee facility.

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Brain Drain 7
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Moustaf inside the refugee camp refreshes himself with a glass of water. There are no activities to carry on doing during the day in the refugee facility.

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Brain Drain 8
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Omar,25, from Aleppo, had his own music studio where he self-produced Arabic hip hop music.
He earned a baccalaureate in English-Arabic translation and, before opening the studio, he worked for a small advertisement company with two other graphic designers. German authorities have granted him a two year residency permit that allows him to work or rent an apartment.

"I haven’t looked for a job", he said. "For me the priority is to study German or to find a scholarship at university. I am learning German here and it is my third week."

Omar is the courtyard of the refugee facility in Marienfelde, Berlin. During the Cold War, this facility was used to accommodate refugees coming from East Germany.
"Here for six months I have been doing nothing," he said. "Come on, it is Germany, if I finish to sort out my documents within six months that means that I am very lucky. There is lot of bureaucracy."

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Brain Drain 9
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Omar rolls a cigarette in the courtyard of the refugee camp.

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Brain Drain 10
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Omar talks with a young Syrian in the refugee camp.

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Brain Drain 12
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Omar with the wife Louise, 24, from France, in the kitchen of their small apartment inside the refugee camp. "I feel my priority now it is to find flat for me and my wife," he said. "It is really hard: either you find something at the end of the world in Berlin and you need one and half hour to reach the city, or there is no chance. Who is paying for our rent is not us, [it] is the job center, so would you prefer a person with a job or someone the jobcenter is paying for and you don’t know then when the job center stops providing support? We have really strict and hard conditions we have to go through."

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Brain Drain 11
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan, 32, dentist from Hama, studied three years at the university of Baghdad and three years at the college of dentistry in Damascus. She worked in Damascus in a state health centre for two years. She wants to work as a dentist in Berlin, but before doing so she needs to equalize her degree to the German education standard.

Razan is with other Syrian refugees and schoolmates waiting to start a German lesson. She attends a course to learn the German language four days a week from 2pm to 5pm.

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Brain Drain 14
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan sits on the stairs at the school entrance in Kreuzberg, Berlin's southern suburb, reading the grammar book that she uses to learn the German language.

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Brain Drain 15
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan talks with a schoolmate in the classroom while the German lesson is about to start. The classmates are also refugees.

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Brain Drain 17
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

After attending German class, Razan meets a friend near the school in Kreuzberg. She talks with animosity about the demonstration organized in Berlin to remember the fourth anniversary of the uprising in Syria.

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Brain Drain 16
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan awaits for the bus to go home near Goerlitzer Park.

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Brain Drain 20
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan returns to home. She sits on the sofa in the kitchen and speaks with the mother via Skype. Her family lives in Cairo, Egypt and she has applied for an Egyptian visa to be able to visit them.

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Brain Drain 19
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan cries while talking to her mother via Skype. She has been away from her family for the past year.

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Brain Drain 18
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan recovers from the tears while speaking with the mother in Egypt.

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Brain Drain 13
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
25 Mar 2015

Razan talks on the phone with a Syrian friend in the presence of her flatmate.

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Brain Drain 1
Berlin
By luigi serenelli
18 Mar 2015

Moustaf Aljundi, 26, from Homs . Educated in England, Cambridge, a degree in human resources management and professional basketball player, Moustaf returned to Syria to work for a company in the human resources department and played with the Syrian national basket team. He sits on a bench waiting for his turn to register as a refugee in front of LAGeSo (Landesamt fuer Gesundheit und Soziale) the operative arm of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the State of Berlin.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
09 Jun 2013

Abida, 53, belongs to the Ahmadiyya minority, an Islamic reformist movement persecuted in Pakistan. She left her country in 2009 with her three children after being attacked in their home-town, Gujrat. She is now waiting in Bangkok to travel to Canada, where she will be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
08 Jun 2013

Pendeza (random name), 31, was detained and tortured in Democratic Republic of Congo because of the tie of her husband with a tribal guerrilla. She arrived in Bangkok in November 2012 after having travelled through Rwanda and Kenya. She lives with her baby son as an asylum seeker, waiting to be recognized as refugee.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
08 Jun 2013

Maria Teresa (random name), 36, fled Angola in 2009 escaping from local authorities who threatened her life. In 2008, the government expropriated her house and detained her during a demonstration. Now she lives in Bangkok with her 2 years-old daughter, where she has initiated the process to get the refugee status.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Shoba (random name), 35, left Sri Lanka in August 2009, two months after the end of the civil war with the Tamil guerrilla. Her husband disappeared in July 2009 after being accused of helping the guerrilla. Already recognized as a refugee, she lives now in Bangkok with her children, while waiting to be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Muna (random name), 39, lost the favour of her family after marrying a man from another tribal clan in Somalia. When her husband disappeared in 2010 both her family and her husband´s family tried to kill her. She fled in July 2011 and travelled to Bangkok but she had to leave her four children in her country. As a refugee, she started the process to be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Andrea (random name) was married with a member of the Intelligence Service of the Tamil guerrilla during the civil war in Sri Lanka. When the civil war finished in 2009 her family was targeted by the government and they fled after her husband disappeared. She lives in Bangkok with two of her three children. She has been rejected as refugee and she is preparing the appeal against the UNHCR decision.