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Build bridges by art and culture

Connect newcomers with locals through art and culture by enabling refugees to become leaders in cultural spaces.

Photo of Souad Nanaa
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Our idea has the first innovate solution of the cultural socio-economic integration of the refugee/migrant in France. It tackles the innovation of the social system by facilitating and accompanying the refugee/migrant for a job opportunity in the French culture sector, promoting enrichment through reciprocal exchanges. Repair bridges by improving the image of refugee in the host society and using culture as a lever of expression and inclusion We concluded in 2017 a partnership agreement with two museums (Orsay & Orangerie) in Paris under the name MAHATTA; It’s a training program for refugees/migrants that allow them to discover the profession of the Museums, maintain a social life and cultural practice and promote their professional integration The training program consists of: monthly conference - visit for 6 months, and 3 days as Intensive course of the techniques of cultural mediation. and the participation in the event ‘’la curieuse nocturne’’ at least twice per year, where the beneficiaries present the paintings of the Permanent collections of museums to the public. In 2017- 18: 17 trainees from 9 nationality joined the program, 8 candidates had interviewed, and 4 out 8 candidates got a job offer In 2019: 18 trainees from 5 nationality, the program still running The museums’ HR organize meetings throughout the year between beneficiaries and professionals to present the various job of the establishment (conservation, safety, maintenance, etc.) or seasonal employment, cashier-checker, receptionist or room supervisor positions (We attached the process of the enrollment system). Why only 50% of trainees were getting job offer? because of non-sufficient level French, the common complain of many newcomers is that French lessons provided by government is not enough. That’s why we design specialized French course around art and culture, aiming to raise the percentage of job offer. We will diversify our activities to increase the number of beneficiaries

Geography of focus (500 characters)

We connect newcomers with locals in art and culture spaces in Paris, the world’s capital of culture. It's the home of the world's most visited gallery and monument as well as being an inspiration for films, novels and artists. the refugee/migrant considered in the host country marginal communities. Through intercultural exchange the community will be more cohesive. why art? because at all times art has been a universal language, go beyond boundaries and bring people together

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

As a collective of newcomers and locals, our ambition is to facilitate interactions and employment in the cultural sector, by shifting narratives and perceptions about refugees and migration and create a Our idea builds bridge of dialogue and culture exchange, involve the French community into our project. We mobilize the students of colleges and universities to support us, they will help the newcomers to improve the French language. Our idea will help the people on move to secure their future

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

''Yesterday was a dream to enter a prestigious museum in Paris; today, I have the honor to present the pieces of art of the museum to the visitors ''. It’s a kind of joy when a newcomer is capable to present paintings to the public. He/she regained his/her confidence and the public cheers him up. More than that, the art has a beneficial impact on building positive relationship between the host community and the refugees/migrants and contribute to the mental health to those who have suffered from the trauma of being in the middle of the sea fighting to stay alive. By developing employability skills and helping them find a job, he/she can will contribute to his host country and lives in dignity. We know that we bring joy by nature: our methodology relies on revealing the potential of newcomers by helping them achieving their dreams. Nothing is impossible, we know that inclusion does not mean creating solution without considering what newcomers want for their lives.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Our mission is to promote professional integration in the French cultural sector. To move from empathy toward opportunity. The idea makes a change in the life of our beneficiaries, it turns the passive to active, changing newcomers' narrative through innovation, helping them to establish a network and potential contacts, help them reach next stage “call for action”. “when you are refugee you face the biggest challenge, I’ve faced, like most of the refugees and migrants, the prejudgment of the refugee by the local community, but today I feel more confident of myself and what I achieved” said one of our trainees. Myself, as a refugee I keep fighting to change the perception and mindset of neighbor. I am a role model for many of our beneficiaries, and they will be by their turn a role model for his/her fellow newcomers With our commitment and engagement as team toward our partners, the agreement of MAHATTA was renewed

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

As an individual I’ve experienced displacement, I am a refugee, our new treasurer is a refugee too SAMA FOR ALL is a non- profit organization registered. The idea born from the need of living in dignity and enjoy the life and build a network and contacts with local. Why culture? Because in the mind of people, culture is for the elite and not for refugees, I want to break the prejudices, refugees do not only need shelter, food, but also culture because they have a rich culture. the diversity is a wealth and the human being is the resource of our sustainability. The project responds to the need of cultural and socio-economic integration of the newcomer in the host country. The organization’s DNA build bridge by culture, the initiative promote access to employment through art and culture we have the experience of dealing with displaced people. We have a strong relationship with our partners, we are invited to all events, conferences, we are working closely to serve the beneficiaries

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

We know that we need more spaces and initiatives where newcomers are presented as contributors and not victims, especially in France where existing narratives are always negatives when it comes to refugees and migration. We are designing a solution for displaced person, for partner & stakeholder Once the newcomer has a stability, he/she will show engagement and empowerment of the community, “my feeling today is mix between joy and responsibility” said one of our trainees in her interview We provide the cultural institutions the opportunity to develop their CSR policy toward refugee’s population and play role in social cohesion. We involve the stakeholders in our project “would like to be part of our project, but they need a hint of direction, what to do" We use the IDEO Community Research by interviewing two personas that represent the innovative solution of the conversation club, where the 1st persona Walla was our pilot tester of the conversation club last year and it worked

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

We create an economic value and social bridge between the newcomers and the local community. With our project, the refugees/migrants become actors of their integration, we build relationship among the different members of community and we encourage a dialogue. We mobilize individuals, institutions and NGOs to come together and develop the social cohesion. our beneficiaries have the resources that help the development of the host country. We are lucky of responsive and the contribution of the local community to our project, an example of the French teacher, she has an experience of teaching in colleges for more than 30 years. As a project team, we invest our different backgrounds as displaced people and locals in this project. We have a new treasurer – he is a refugee and has last financial experience. Myself I dedicate my full time to the project, I build a strong relationship with partners and beneficiaries, I keep going to cultural events, participating in forums and conferences.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Our current partners are: Orsay and Orangerie museums, SINGA France, The Foundation of Human Safety Net and the platform Wero of the organization Wintergate. our financial partner is the French Ministry of Culture. we collaborate with local associations like France Benevolent, and Collective d’Entraide et d’Echange linguistiques We are working on developing a new partner such as museums, cultural institutions, Foundations, refugee’s centers, Municipality of Paris, students of colleges universities, volunteers & trainees. We are also working on expand our activities such as the movie industry and theatre, I was incubated for one year by the incubator program of Singa France (entrepreneurial) to create an independent entity We will develop a kind of work shop for one of our beneficiaries to provide arts education course to locals and newcomers. Of course, we are looking to work in the future with OpenIdeo

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name


Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

As an individual I’ve experienced displacement; I am a Syrian refugee, our new treasurer is a Syrian refugee too. SAMA FOR ALL is a non- profit organization registered under the law of 1901 in Paris. The idea born from the need of living in dignity and enjoy the life and build a network and contacts with locals, “human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” article 1 of the universal declaration of human rights of UN When some asked me why this idea? I replied “Diversity is a wealth, and the human being is the resource of our sustainability” The project responds to the need of cultural and socio-economic integration of the newcomer in the host country. The initiative promote access to employment through art and culture. We have the experience of dealing with displaced people We have a strong relationship with our partners, we are invited to their events, activities and conferences, we are working closely to serve the beneficiaries

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State


In preparation for expert feedback: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in these categories? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea. (600 characters)

1.How to engage the trainees (refugees & immigrants) of our training program that associated with museums throughout the program duration period? (bearing in mind that it’s not paid one like most of training programs of the French employment agency). 2.Our challenge as a young non-profit organization is to secure funding for our projects, how we will develop a strategy that ensure sustained fund resources. 3.Do we have to prioritize the diversify of provided service that align with needs of the beneficiary/partner, or expanding with the same project geographically on short, mid and long term?

Did you use the resources offered during the Improve Phase (mentorship, expert feedback, community research)? (2000 characters)


We had a very constructive call with our mentor Griselda Vera, who said that our project is a complete package. Although the project deals with all aspects of integration, certain areas of the proposal needed to be clarified, we edited our idea, added new sections to the storyboard, as well as new inputs and photos to all answers

We also added the selection criteria, as well as the process of the enrollment, how people will come to know about us, and KPIs to measure impact on our beneficiaries in a systematic way


I recently did an interview with Gaston, one of MAHATTA’s alumni I had the chance to meet him during “Nuit Blanche”, an annual all-night art festival organized by the City of Paris. Gaston was recruited by the City as a cultural mediator for this event

I also had the chance to speak to many potential participants who would join the program next year 

we organized our General Assembly, which was the opportunity to collect feedback from our community, their expectations and their ambition to strengthen our activities, especially our program MAHATTA, our French classes and conversation club.

I attended the workshop organized by Louvre for the people involved in social field to explore a new opportunity/partnership. The conversation club was tested last year by one newcomer and one local and the result was very encouraging, the implementation will be in Dec 19

In the meantime, museums’ team has engaged in starting recruitment by next month


We received the answers from our assigned expert Sarika Bansal.Her comments were encouraging, and her feedback was somehow close to the solutions the team brainstorming during the improvement phase. She proposed various solutions to our 3 questions considering desirability, viability, and feasibility of the idea. We will implement some of the proposed solutions in our idea before the end of the year

In what ways would potential BridgeBuilder funds allow you to pursue your idea that other funding opportunities have not? (1000 characters)

We believe that our project is at the heart of your initiative, it gives an opportunity to the displaced person to take the lead and become a role model for his/her mates, which in turn will help newcomers take the lead. 

Without us being aware of it, we have worked with human-centered design to build our project

We share the common value of recognizing and incorporating displaced lived experiences in order to solve real community problems.

Your selection criteria do not require, unlike most of the local funders, several years of existence, the necessity of having a certain number of employees. Our strategic plan is to expand into North America in, so your funds will help open this door.

With adequate funding, our project will evolve, and allow our team to be financially secured, and challenge us in thinking of our business model for coming years if we want Sama For All to be sustainable. We need for 1styear $55.000, 2ndyear $65.000, 3rdyear $80.000

What aspects or proportion of the overall idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (1000 characters)

The training program MAHATTA is the key value proposition and the benchmark of our organization, our priority is to maintain existing partnerships with Orsay & Orangerie and to expand to other Parisian museums in Paris such as Le Louvre.To take the project to the next level, we require human and financial resources.should be selected for the fund, we will invest it in:Hiring full-time refugee to help us execute the strategic plan, strength the ties with community and bring on board new funding. Hiring part-time refugee to be responsible for operations. Developing our visual identity, and build a brand content strategy.Renting a space to run the French lessons and for day to day operation. Developing the conversation club on/offline and scale it to a larger level.Expand and develop activities to other cities in France and internationally.

What are the key steps or activities for your idea for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (1000 characters)

OBJECTIVE: facilitate job opportunities for refugees/immigrants in the cultural sector

HOW: Design a user-journey based on newcomers dreams and ambitions

KEY STEPS: Identify new partners/ beneficiaries, HR plan, finalize roles & responsibilities, develop communication tools, develop training programs in collaboration with our partners, develop the conversation club online/offline.


2020Strengthen and enrich partnerships in Paris by creating adding a new partnership with a new museum, create a new sector of activity, add French classes and another teacher, develop the conversation club, explore a partnership in museums or other sector in Lyon and Marseille by last quarter of 2020 in order to prepare the expansion plan of both cities

2021 Expand to Lyon and Marseille, create a cultural activity in both cities, create the FLE course, in 2022 expand internationally

What will community-level impact look like over the timeframe of your idea? How will you determine whether or not you have achieved that impact? And what outstanding questions do you still have? (1000 characters)

IMPACT We aim to change the narrative about newcomers by engaging new partners and create more jobs.The common complaint of many newcomers is that the French lessons provided by the government are not sufficient. That’s why we designed specialized French lessons around art & culture. Our expected impact is for newcomers to be able to work directly in the art industry after they have completed the training

MEASUREMENT Success criteria translates the number of new solutions we provide over time that align with the requirements of partners and the needs of beneficiaries, the outcome of the beneficiaries. Our KPIs are co-designed with our beneficiaries and partners and go beyond quantitative numbers. We want systemic change, and therefore are willing to work with a social impact  QUESTIONS What other solutions could we add that will help repair and build bridges between displaced people and their neighbors? What improvements should we implement and how?

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (1000 characters)

Our team has different profiles but a common mission, and consists of founders, active members and partners, as well as French teachers and volunteers.Responsibility of museums:Organize a monthly conference - visits to temporary exhibitions/ permanent collections, and an intensive course around the techniques of mediation, organize meetings throughout the year between trainees and professionals to present various activities(conversation,safety,maintenance,etc.), offer seasonal employment such as cashier, receptionist or room supervisor positions

Responsibility of Sama For All:Select potential participants based on agreed selection criteria from both parties, and Provide the museums the list of selected participants, Accompany the participants to visits, training course, etc. write the educational booklet in various languages and distribute it to trainees,communicate regularly with museums team

Lastly, how did you apply new learnings to your idea? (1000 characters)

Expert: Adopting a new system of training programs that meets the needs of the community, creating a new sector that allows to multiply the number of beneficiaries, assuring the viability of the project by creating program that subsidizes the organization

Mentor: Apply key indicator in order to know the impact of training program on the lives of beneficiaries, and the alumni of last year, open the French classes to have more public of newcomers, that we will consider once we secure a permanent office, develop the marketing tools to reach potential participants

Stakeholder: we developed the strategy of recruiting volunteers by approaching college & university, to propose to museums' HR about being more flexible in their hiring process, we will work with the Ministry of Culture and the City of Paris to help us reach a broader audience 

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Attachments (3)

2nd Persona of build bridges by art and culture.pdf

Dana - 2nd persona- mapping out our key stakeholders by using persona worksheet and interview 2nd persona as neighbor.

1st Persona of build bridges by art and culture.pdf

Walaa - 1st persona - mapping out our key stokeholders by using persona worksheet and interview 1st persona as end-user


Join the conversation:

Photo of geoffrey mosigisi

Hi, souad Nanaa

You Qualified .Congratulations!



Photo of Souad Nanaa

Good morning Geoffrey,
it' kind of you to send us your wishing!
Yes thanks to the support of OpenIdeo team that we reach this unique momentum!
Merry Christmas!
Best regards,

Photo of geoffrey mosigisi

Hi,Syde danish
Walk on water movie-walk on water facts,what brings unique idea?,I am strong and the other is what has interested me on the other side,let me know how much have you benefited since you started writing?I wish to learn more from you, I love reading what has value in my life.I Will be able to share with you more,as I am going to take time on your blog. How you there in Israel?


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