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The Story So Far

Putting the Pieces Together - from Idea to Launch

Natalie Zarzour

June 25, 2018

In 2015, Syrian refugee Qutaiba developed the idea of ​​Josoor. He and Austrian supporter Natalie soon started working on the implementation. After several delays and many difficulties due to lack of funds and developers they found the right team and strategy to launch in 2018.

Syria, Turkey, Germany

In 2012, then 23-years-old Qutaiba fled from Syria to Turkey. For the following two years he tried his best to earn money to finance humanitarian help for children in Syria. Whether as a presser in a clothing workshop, a waiter, or even a restaurant owner - the money was never enough for more than his own survival. Frustrated with not having a chance to build something worthwhile, no chance of official residency any time soon and no future ahead, he decided to leave Turkey.

In 2014, Qutaiba went to Europe and sought asylum in Germany by the end of the year. For six months he was waiting for the decision in his asylum case in a tiny, rural village near Winterberg, North Rhine-Westphalia. It was a deeply depressing time for Qutaiba. Usually very active, he was suddenly doomed to do nothing at all - all alone, not allowed to work, no money for activities of any kind, not even to go to the next town to make friends. With all this time at his hands, he started analyzing the challenges and problems refugees in the area, but also local supporters were facing. Talking to as many people as possible, he started to get a clear overview of the bigger situation - and slowly, an idea started forming in his mind.

The Idea

Bit by bit, he linked the pieces - and when he helped some friends found the association Kipepeo, the idea started to take concrete shape: a platform where people can meet, connect, network, exchange and cooperate on solutions to the challenges they face. Not only in a small town, but wherever there are refugees.

When he was granted asylum in June 2015, the refugee flow to Europe had just reached its peak - so instead of further developing the new idea, Qutaiba went to help other refugees along the same route he had travelled the year before, only this time as a volunteer.

During his stay on the Croatian-Serbian border, he met Natalie, a volunteer from Austria. On his way back to Germany, he stopped at Vienna where they met again. When Qutaiba explained his idea to her, she immediately grasped the importance of it- and they decided to implement it together.

A rough start

After Natalie returned from a research project in Nepal in December 2015, they started working on what was now called Josoor: clarifying the vision, ​​finding team members, specifying the concept, sketching the platform, deciding on the strategy, writing the business plan. The hope that it would take only a few months to launch was soon disappointed. The vision they initially had for Josoor was much too broad and had to be broken down into smaller pieces. But which of these to start with? A lot of research, interviews and exchange was necessary - and time consuming. Due to lack of funds and developers, the launch had to be delayed again and again. Earning an income on the side, attending German courses and family obligations all delayed the launch even further.

Knowing about the importance of Josoor and highlights such as the invitation to Web Summit (the largest tech conference in the world) and the great feedback Josoor received there, however, kept motivating them not to give up yet.

Throughout this journey, many people joined Josoor team, others left again. We are thankful to all of them and we have learned a lot from every single one.


Now, after two and a half years, we finally found the right team with Dominik, Emma and Mohammed to put Josoor into action.

The concept is finished, the strategy clear, the designs prepared, the website launched and the financial plan worked out.

We are excited to finally get started - and in a few months, we need your support to go the last step of the way: financing the platform development through a crowdfunding campaign. Then it will be up to you to make Josoor a reality!

(c) Lea Fabienne Photography

What You Can Do

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