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Reports of our graduation ceremonies of the MUT-Makers* project

Last year we successfully completed our “MUT Makers*” project. At our graduation ceremonies, which due to the pandemic had to take place at four locations and partly had to take place digitally, we celebrated the great work of our volunteers and project staff together with our sponsors.

The "MUT-Macherinnen*" project, which started in 2019, pursued the goal of making it easier for refugee women to settle in Germany and to create more opportunities for active participation. With the project, DaMigra eV supports courageous women who take their lives into their own hands, who want to actively live, learn and work in this country as “doers*”. The “MUT-Macherinnen*” project has promoted this will of women through various event formats and supported them in building a self-determined life in Germany.

At our graduation ceremonies in the four regions – South; east-south; North-West and North-East - not only employees of the project "MUT-Macherinnen*" took part, the volunteers themselves, who have played a key role in shaping the project in recent years, also had their say. In addition, representatives from politics, civil society, culture and the world of work were present and took part in panel discussions.

In the following we present the highlights and main topics of the graduation ceremonies in the individual regions.

NORTH-WEST REGION: November 16.11.21, XNUMX

"Barriers to the recognition of qualifications and access to the labor market for refugee women and migrants must be removed!"

The first closing event of the MUT makers* project took place on November 16th in the north-west region. In strict compliance with the hygiene concept, it was possible to meet with member organizations in the region, cooperation partners, volunteers and participants in Neuss. After being welcomed by the managing director of DaMigra, Dr. Delal Atmaca and the Video greeting from the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration in the Chancellery Annette Widmann-Mauz the colleagues from the Düsseldorf location, together with the regional coordinator Ekin Polat, presented the development and successes of the project location MUT-Makers* in NRW. Cooperation partners and speakers also reported on the joint events of recent years. The location, which has been committed to the concerns of refugee women since 2016 and organizes campaigns and workshops together with them, has been able to accompany many women on their way over the years. Many have taken part in qualifications, trained as participants to become speakers, worked as language mediators or founded their own women's association. The MUT-Macherinnen* project was able to empower many women in the north-west region and create a community.

But the ongoing corona pandemic has not left the community unaffected and is still having a major impact, especially on women's opportunities to participate. Between multiple exposure and isolation, the corona pandemic intensified many of the challenges that refugee women and migrants had already faced before.

Due to the short-term cancellation of two state politicians from the SPD and Greens, DaMigra designed the second block of the event more freely and focused on the exchange with Julia Klein, the representative for equal opportunities on the labor market at the Düsseldorf employment agency. The women present reported on their personal experiences on the labor market and great difficulties in having their qualifications recognized or in finding precarious jobs. While the gender pay gap still shows that women are disadvantaged in the labor market, the migration pay gap is added to this for migrant women. Employment agencies and those responsible for recognition processes must be made aware of this multiple discrimination and against stereotypical role models. In addition, the migrant women need the courage to move out of their own community, to learn the language and to demand their rights to financial independence. In order to support equal opportunities for everyone in the labor market, the Employment Agency has assigned responsible persons at each location, such as Ms. Klein, to work internally or externally against discrimination based on gender, origin or religion. There was a great deal of encouragement and need among the participants for support structures of this kind.


“We have to look to the future and do more. "

One of the speakers, Mathilda Legitimus-Schleicher, summed up the importance of DaMigra for many migrant and refugee women during our digital closing ceremony of the “MUT-Macherinnen *” project in the South region on November 19, 2021.

The final event of the project "MUT-Macherinnen*" in the southern region started with a welcoming address from the Minister of State Annette Widmann-Mauz and the integration officer of the Bavarian state government Gudrun Brendel-Fischer, both of whom expressed their respect for the project employees and volunteers for their social achievements and wished them much success and strength for their further efforts. Ms. Widmann-Mauz summed it up: If you take stock today, I want to say to you, be proud of yourself, you supported so many women and families, even during Corona. That is a strong achievement and it is worthy of all credit.”

In her welcoming address, Ms. Lourdes points out the ongoing challenges and barriers that women with a migration or refugee background encounter in the areas of voting rights, the health system, protection against violence and the recognition of professional qualifications. In relation to work and the job market, she emphasizes: “Participating in the job market doesn’t just mean having a job. Participation in the labor market means, above all, participation in social life, means being able to speak, means having contact with other people and means getting out of isolation.” In addition to a short introduction by DaMigra Managing Director Dr. Delal Atmaca, regional coordinator Ekin Polat gave an introduction Insight into the successes of the project in the southern region, Hesse, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The manager of the Bavarian site, Constance Fricker, then explained the measures at their site in more detail and made it clear how different they were in character and orientation. From children's art workshops to excursions, qualification of parent guides, discussion groups, computer courses and cooperation with trauma therapists or counseling centers, many women were strengthened, informed and accompanied by "MUT-makers*" in 2020, despite the pandemic hurdles and increasing digitization. Quote Constance is missing

Afterwards, in a fishbowl discussion, Gülseren Demirel (Bündnis90/Die Grünen/ integration policy spokeswoman in the Bavarian state parliament), Mathilda Legitimus-Schleicher (Nala e. V., MiMi mediator at the Ethno-Medical Center Bavaria e. V., racism-critical coaching) , Dagmar Schumann (Munich Employment Agency, Commissioner for Equal Opportunities on the Labor Market) and Dr. Delal Atmaca – DaMigra e.

DaMigra addressed multiple discrimination in the job and training market for refugee and migrant women and pointed out the Migration Pay Gap. An open discussion took place between all those involved about political strategies to improve their information situation and opportunities for participation. Especially with a view to the more difficult access to the labor market, all of the panellists agreed on their willingness to strive for closer cooperation as part of our follow-up project "MUT II - informed.digital.networked." from 2022. Dagmar Schumann from the employment agency spoke out in favor of the creation of a pilot position that supports people in the bureaucratic and digital sea of ​​information in finding the right path for them.


“DaMigra is a home for all women and a place where you feel safe and at the same time can help other people. I got to know my rights with DaMigra. It was the first time I saw women with headscarves at a demo. Before I knew DaMigra, I felt kind of lonely. But with all the women from DaMigra behind me, I got more power. Thanks to DaMigra, many women have gained self-confidence. For women who have migrated to us, DaMigra is special because they think of us there ”.

With these words, one of our volunteers summed up the importance of DaMigra for many migrant and refugee women during our digital graduation ceremony of the “MUT-Macherinnen *” project in the East-South region on November 23, 2021.

The start of our event was our newly elected CEO Inna Schulze, who in her empowering greeting not only pointed out the successful work of the volunteers, but also the continuing hurdles for migrant and refugee women in the world of work, in the health sector and the grievances in protection against violence. The Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration Annette Widmann-Mauz, who has supported the “MUT-Macherinnen *” project since the beginning, as well as the Saxon State Secretary Sebastian Vogel welcomed the guests present. After a substantive review of the project time since 2019 by our managing director Dr. Delal Atmaca and deeper insights into the work of the individual locations in our region in Leipzig, Erfurt and Halle / Magdeburg, the break was accompanied by enchanting sounds of the music of the artist Sahar Momenzadeh.

In the second block, Gabi Ohler (Equal Opportunities Officer of Thuringia, Genka Lapön (Equal Opportunities Officer of the City of Leipzig), Petra Čagalj Sejdi (Saxon State Parliament Member for Alliance 90/The Greens) and Dr. Delal Atmaca (Managing Director of DaMigra eV) discussed the special challenges of the pandemic for refugees and migrant women and about political strategies to improve their situation.Particularly in view of the more difficult access to the labor market, the discussants agreed on closer cooperation within the framework of our follow-up project "MUT II - informed.digital.connected."from 2022.

Graphic recording by Sara Ekkel

Today we proudly look back on the past few years, which one of our volunteers summed up aptly at our graduation ceremony: "I'm really happy that I see such great, motivating and impressive women, that they didn't give up despite many difficulties and obstacles, but continue. Great respect to all women and to all volunteers and Damigra". Strengthened by this experience, we will also face future challenges and continue to support the concerns and needs of refugee and migrant women in Germany in the coming year.


“When I started at DaMigra, I wanted to strengthen and empower other women. Now I understand that every experience of the courage-makers strengthens me too - for example by better understanding the challenges of women with a migration and refugee background, but also by better recognizing our strengths. We encourage each other, exchange ideas, get involved in society, inform ourselves about our rights and understand our new society in Germany better and better. " 

With these words one of our volunteers summed up the importance of DaMigra as a place of networking, empowerment and participation for many women with immigration and escape story together.

After a welcome by the Chairwoman of DaMigra eV Eleonora Cucina and the video greetings by the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration Annette Widmann-Mauz and the Minister for Social Affairs, Integration and Equal Opportunities of the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Stefanie Drese, our Managing Director Dr. Delal Atmaca DaMigra e. At this year’s project closing event, women with refugee backgrounds as volunteers, cooperation partners and our board spoke about their successes and challenges in working on the project (with special consideration of the effects of the corona pandemic on the project work). In the subsequent fish bowl discussion, the participants were given the opportunity to enter into direct dialogue with representatives of politics and civil society and to make their concerns regarding the participation in education and the labor market of refugee women in Germany visible. Ulrike Seemann-Katz (Refugee Council Mecklenburg-West Pomerania eV), Nurcahya Mardiyanti Koehler (Migra eV), Dr. Delal Atmaca (DaMigra eV), Reem Alabali Radovan (SPD – MdB), Kerstin Kassner (DIE LINKE) and Anne Shepley (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen – Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). In the discussion, the access barriers (including a lack of multilingual job advice, a lack of childcare, the double burden of women from paid work and care work) were highlighted and the valuable resources (e.g. educational qualifications in the MINT area or health care, which are particularly in demand, multilingualism and intercultural skills) women were shown with a history of migration to the German job market. The podium participants considered making this visible and supporting women in their participation in the labor and education market an indispensable task in the fight for equal participation of refugee women in social life. Strengthened by our experiences and successes in the last two years, it is now important to build on these achievements as part of our follow-up project "MUT II - informed.digital.networked." from 2022 and to support women with a refugee background in their participation in the education and labor market in to strengthen Germany.

Graphic recording by Sara Ekkel


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