“My name is Mumraiz and I’m from Jalalabad in Afghanistan. I wanted to go to school there and learn English. The Taliban didn’t like it and told my father that he shouldn’t allow his children go to school. But he didn’t give in. They killed him when I was 11 years old. Then it was my turn to continue our family business, a small grocery store. All my life social life was almost non-existent because of the constant war in Afghanistan. I fled together with a close friend, but we got separated along the way. The two-month journey was very …

Amal and George Clooney Speak to Syrian Refugees in Berlin

Mahmoud and his family meet Amal and George Clooney

Yesterday, Amal Clooney and George Clooney met with one of the Syrian families that I had photographed as part of “Humans of Lageso“. You can read Mahmoud and his family’s story here: Mahmoud and his family I am impressed by the Clooney’s genuine engagement with the refugee crisis and admire that they use their position as influencers to speak up for those in need. But yesterday’s meeting was also a personal wake-up call for me. You don’t have to be Amal or George Clooney to do good in the world as we all can use our skills and our passions …


One of my Syrian friends

“How are you these days man? Everything ok!?” “I’m okay now… I’m a guest student at TU Berlin in informatics engineering and I’m studying Deutsch – now I can do actual conversations in German and I’m still living in the Turnhalle (camp). I should have gone to LaGeSo like two weeks ago for a new house but the situation there is catastrophic.” – one of my Syrian friends, who prefers to stay anonymous


New Year’s Eve

“When I hear all these sounds out side, I get a flash back memory for the same sounds we were listening in Syria last year. But, the difference is that these sounds now are sounds of happiness and joy …full of laughters and life, while those sounds last year and now while I am writing, are sounds of bombs; explosions; gun shoots full of death, crying, black ashes and smoke and cursing. At this moment exactly some homes are burying their owners beneath , some mothers have just lost their babies, some children are watching their parents bleeding to death. …


Duaa and her father Anwar

“I am Duaa and this is my father Anwar. We came here as a family of five and fled from Baghdad, Iraq. The conflicts between Sunni and Shia led to constant repression and made it an unsafe place for us to live in. For us, all people are the same and should be treated equal. We heard in Syria is less tension between the different ethnic groups. So we moved to Syria for six years. After Daesh (IS) came to our city, we decided to flee to Europe. Like many others before us, we went on a small rubber boat …


Safa and her mother

“My name is Safa and this is my mother Rafif. We are from Mosul in Iraq. Daesh (IS) came to our city and turned our lives into hell, especially for us women. It’s hard to understand why Daesh (IS) is killing people for the most simple things. They killed our neighbor just because he criticized them one time. Along with us came my sister and my brother. My father had to stay in Iraq. He said that we have to leave the city, because we are his everything and he wants us to be safe. With many other people, we …



Saif and I met for the first time in early September. He was the youngest among a group of people from Pakistan. We tried to convince him to spend the night in a shelter, where it was supposed to be easier for him to get registered (editor’s note: in truth, registration never happened there, but in very few cases). He was very uncertain about whether he should stay with his group or follow our advice. He didn’t know if he could trust us. After various talks and reconfirmations, he decided to go to the shelter. While I saw him walking …


‘Love the stranger because you once were strangers.’

” ‘Love the stranger because you once were strangers.’ They are human beings just like us. I’ve been so moved to hear stories about the kindness and compassion of Europeans opening their doors to refugees. Now we have an opportunity to extend our own kindness, mercy, and acknowledgment of our shared humanity. The refugees are not terrorists. They are fleeing from terrorists. We are not inherently different. We are just more privileged. As my mother always taught ‘with privilege comes responsibility.’ Selfishness, greed and fear will not lead to greater happiness. May all beings find the refuge they seek. May …


Bas Mohammad

“I am Bas Mohammad from Afghanistan. After my family received many threats from the Taliban, we first fled within our country to Kabul. We built a small house there. I worked together with my father in a small shop he owned. But then the Taliban came to the shop as well and scared us. I decided to leave my country for a safe future and then help my family. The way was very hard for me. It took me three months until I reached Germany. I am not used to big cities like Berlin and the situation at LaGeSo completely …


Naheed and her mother

I met Naheed from Afghanistan again. Almost two months have passed. In her earlier story she said: “I miss my old life, my friends, my work, but most of all I miss my mother.” Fortunately, her mother now arrived in Berlin as well, after two tough months of fleeing across seven different countries. This is what she said: “I am Mahnaz from Afghanistan and the mother of my daughter Naheed. My legs and feet are wounded from walking. Sometimes I walked for 18 hours a day. It took me two months, there was a lot of trouble and hardly any …