September 2015 | Arne-Friedrich-Stiftung

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BitsandPretzels Talk

Yesterday (Monday 09/28th), I was invited as a guest speaker at BitsandPretzels in Munich. I talked about goals, how to deal with pressure and my Foundation.

It was a great event with interesting people. Thanks to Felix Haas for having me!

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A positive history of little Recep Mamak

Recep is 4 years old. He was born with only half of his heart. Within a week of his birth, he already had his first heart surgery. Another operation followed six months later, and another one after that a year later. For a little while things then went okay for little Recep. However, when he was two and one-half, further surgery was needed due to the narrowness of his aortic arch and a now deficient heart valve. Since his single heart chamber had weakened and was no longer able to support his system, he had to receive a temporary artificial heart while he waited to receive a heart transplant. During his eighteen-month wait for a matching donor, he lived in the DHYB (German Heart Center Berlin).

Now Recep is doing well and may be able to go home soon. And what is Recep looking forward to the most? His answer: “Driving!”

I had the pleasure to visit him and can say that he is full of vitality and energy. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the doctors and nurses of DHZB (German Heart Center Berlin).

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VIF Pilot Group

In the spring of 2015, we launched our first VIF pilot group which included myself as well as six German and six refugee children. During the first seven weeks, we met weekly to engage in various activities together with the goal of getting to know one another and learning about each other’s cultures, which is the goal of VIF. You can find more information about this under “Projects.”

It is wonderful to see the children letting down their guard and opening up to one another during such a short amount of time together, forming such a cohesive group. Yet, we are always exploring new ways of combining fun and education for the children. Consequently, we currently have experts creating a specialized curriculum of activities which will deepen and enrich the children’s experiences even further.

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Visiting a Welcome Center for Refugees

On Sept. 15, 2015, I visited a welcome center for refugees in Berlin. There I met Amir from Syria who had been in Germany for only ten days. Although he spoke fluent English and has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, he had to flee the deadly conflict in his own country. To find safety, Amir had to first travel on foot in his homeland and then travel by boat to Europe. What he has gone through is difficult for me to even imagine. Amir told me that while he has was enjoying watching the Champions League Finals on television with his father, suddenly shots rang out in the street, putting everyone in danger. Nothing like that could ever happen to us here in Germany. Children in Syria are growing up in the middle of war.

The AF Stiftung wants to help these children who are fleeing from war and have a chance of finding asylum in our country. So we have launched VIF groups to assist them in integrating into German society.

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