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Build bridges through 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)

The first innovate program that has positive impact on the Socio-Economic integration of the refugees/immigrants in France. The problem for any newcomer is the integration into the host country. The integration is a combination of language acquisition, to mix with society, adapt, and asses his/her skills/education to the local labour market. Culture is a great tool for building a common and inclusive society and cultural actors, yet eager to take their share in hosting refugees. Our proposed solution: our association aiming to facilitate the professional integration of refugees/immigrants in the cultural sector, and generally improve the image of refugees in the host society by using culture as a lever of expression and inclusion. How? We concluded in October 2017 a partnership agreement with two museums (Orsay & Orangerie) in Paris. The purpose of the agreement is to establish a framework of cooperation between the museums and SAMA FOR ALL in order to enable refugees/immigrants to benefit from the cultural program and to discover the profession of the Museums. it allows them as well to maintain a social life, cultural practices and promote their professional integration. The training program ‘’MAHATTA’’ based on train the refugees/immigrants to be museum guide provide tours for the visitors in French or their native language and consist of: - 6 monthly lectures run by a professional museum guide, starting by January and ending by December for 25 trainees. - Initiation course in mediation techniques for three consecutive days for 12 trainees. - Participation twice per year in the event ‘’la curieuse nocturne’’ where the trainees present the piece of art of the Permanent collection to the public. - Organize meetings with museum professionals - Human resources for a job interview. The benefit from this program in 2018: 17 trainees from 9 nationalities have participated. In 2019: 18 trainees from 5 nationalities are joining the program.

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. With 297 of them, Paris also wins the museum category beating Moscow with 261 and Los Angeles with 219.

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. As Paris is the world capital of culture and art, with the biggest Arabic collection of art and paintings, but not a single tour in Arabic or any rare language, we see a huge potential for people on the move to contribute to host societies and bring their skills and knowledge to the public.

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 trainee of our program is capable to present a piece of art to the public. He/she regained his/her confidence and the public cheers him up. The art has a beneficial impact on building positive relationship between the host community and the refugees/immigrants 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 finding a job, he/she can also 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, as refugees ourselves, 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)

The actionable impact on the problem: • The positive change from passive to active. • The positive feedback of the participants that they move to next level of their life. • The establishing a network and potential contacts that help them to take an action. • The implication of our partners, the partnership agreement with two prestigiuos museums of Orasy & Orangerie is renewed for the second consecutive year. • A narrative switch about migration from a large audience.

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

My journey as a refugee started three years ago when my employment contract was terminated in 2016 and I had one month to leave the UAE where I lived for 17 years , I did not have a place to go, my country was in war. Luckily, I had a Schengen visa, so I decided to to France and submit my paper as an asylum seeker. As a displaced/refugee person, I’ve faced several barriers in the host country, one of them was getting a job. it has inspired me to look for a solution, I took the decision to create an independent entity that help refugees finding a job, by investing my competencies to make it feasible and sustainable. Why? because our project is based on three pillars, the society, the culure and the economy. The society: the integration of the refugees/immigrants in the host country The culture: a bridge to connect and to respect each other through differences. The economy: by helping the refugees/immigrants to be an actors and contribute to the development of their host country.

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

We have here 2 personas: their hope: getting a job and contributing to the community they live in. The 1st persona: Lina, Syrian refugee, 52 years old, mother of 2 children. • Need - what does this person really want? Integrate in the French society and be respected for her professional experience. • Hopes- Her personal goals and hopes: to have the joy of life, discover new things, spend quality time with her husband and her children. • Negative trends from the environment: the stereotype of the refugee. • Positive trends from the environment: the implication of our partners, the belief in her values. The 2nd persona: Walaa, Syrian refugee, 25 years old, single. • Need- what does this person really want? getting a job that she could live in dignity. • Hopes- her personal goals and hopes: securing her future in the host country. • Negative trends from the environment: insecurity about her French language level. Positive trends: goodwill of people she met.

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

With our project, the refugees/immigrants become actors of their integration, confront their culture with the local culture by establishing a fruitful dialogue. We have three examples that improve that our idea is successful. 1. Ibrahima, he graduated last year from our training program “MAHATTA” in collaboration with the museums, He got immediately an offer job from LVMH foundation. 2. Gaston, he graduated last year from our training program “MAHATTA” in collaboration with the museums. He participated last year in the culture event “la nuit blanche” at Reuilly station, where he presents the piece of art to the visitors, he will as well participate this year in the same event. 3. Khaled, he is attending as a trainee our training program “MAHATTA” of 2019 in collaboration with the museums, he will participate this year with the culture event “la nuit blanche” at Reuilly station, where he presents the piece of art to the visitors.

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

Our strategic partners are: the Orsay and Orangerie museums, SINGA France, The Human Safety Net, Wero. Our funding partner is the French Ministry of Culture. We have participated in March 2019 in the funding program ‘’ Cultural action and French language’’ launched by the ministry of French culture. And we got a fund based on meeting the criteria of the competition. Our strategy is to approach all institutions public and private.

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

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 had experienced displacement; I am a Syrian refugee settled in France since 2016. As a registered nonprofit structure; we created a nonprofit organization under the name “SAMA FOR ALL”. Our organization goals chart is reviewing on a regular basis in order to be sure that we are on the right track. We have bi-monthly meeting, and we execute the tasks based on the duties and responsibilities of each team member. We created innovative approaches by using art to promote integration in France. 1. Training program in collaboration with museums. 2. Providing Specialized French as foreign language classes “FLE ” around art & culture in compliment with the training program. 3. Innovative solution of conversation “conversation en binôme”/conversation club. We are connected with our partners by attending and getting involved in their organized events, sourcing relevant profile of the trainee that adapt to partners' needs. updating them with our activities.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State



Join the conversation:

Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh

Can you please confirm if you have made contact with your mentor and if you have agreed on a date to have your one hour check in call to discuss about your idea?

Can you please confirm if you have thought of 3 questions for your idea to post on your comments section that you would need an expert to answer by 20th September?

Photo of Souad Nanaa

Hello Bremley Lyngdoh,
Yes, I contacted my mentor and our virtual meeting will be tomorrow 18 Sept at 8.00 PM France time.
Regarding the 3 questions I will post them by tomorrow.
Best regards,

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