In this week in which we close off the WDCD Refugee Challenge with the Grand Finale Demo Day on Tuesday, we like to share a nice story of refugee entrepreneurship. Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad portrayed Syrian refugee Sarea Alkebaly (27) who designed a website targeted at citizens of Amsterdam who live in poverty.
Sarea Alkebaly fled war-torn Syria only to reach The Netherlands after a long journey past Egypt, Turkey, Greece, the Balkan, Austria and Germany. After receiving his status Alkebaly ended up in a former jail in Amsterdam that now serves as a shelter for refugees. The student in computer science was able to continue his education at HackYourFuture, a refugee code school in Amsterdam.
Using all the skills he gathered, Alkebaly designed a website, Amsterdamvoorziet.nl, that directs Amsterdam citizens in poverty towards all the available offers and regulations for people with less to spend. The website, in Dutch, selects all the available offers based on family composition, age and the neighbourhood one lives in. The offers are classified into different domains including ‘General’, ‘Health’, ‘Education’ and ‘Recreation’.
Now Alkebaly works on a new project, a platform for locals who need help to get in touch with refugees. ‘I saw a lot of bored people in the shelter,’ Alkebaly told the newspaper. ‘At the same time, many people in the city live alone, who could use a little help, for instance to paint a wall.’
Alkebaly, in the meantime, hopes that he will be allowed to bring his wife to the Netherlands, after a first application was denied. This was because Alkebaly and his wife weren’t officially married yet, when he fled his country. ‘She is sad,’ he says. ‘But she is also strong. And patient. After all these years she still waits for me.’