“Even before I escaped, I had a connection to Switzerland. In Addis Ababa, I ran the workshop of the Swiss “Addis Guzo” association, where used wheelchairs from Switzerland are repaired and given to people in need. I found the work rewarding because I have always been passionate about bringing industry and social work together.
But critical thinking is not tolerated in Ethiopia. When I went to court to defend the association’s cause, I was threatened. Finally, the fear of political persecution drove us to flee.
Since 2016, I have been living in Baden with my family. Switzerland is an oasis, but the long wait for the asylum decision, not being able to work, and now being dependent on others, has not been easy for me.
As a graduate engineer, I am used to developing and implementing projects. That’s how I got the idea of using my experience in upcycling hospital and exercise equipment for a good cause here, as well. During the workshops of the Capacity start-up incubator, I received valuable help, good advice, and constant encouragement.
The experience I gained helped me to found my own association, “Dreisprung” (which means triple jump). Since then, “Dreisprung” has been supporting young African refugees who, like me, are awaiting the outcome of their asylum applications. The young people are trained in metalworking and thus acquire professional, life, and language skills. This experience builds their self-confidence and helps them integrate. Moreover, their work is useful: we send the mobility aids and hospital equipment to the Horn of Africa.
For me, it’s essential to give my life meaning. I don’t know yet where this will take me. But thanks to “Dreisprung,” I can look ahead to the future with confidence.”
Teferi Kassa feared for his life in Ethiopia after he was involved in a project for the repair and distribution of wheelchairs. Since his escape in 2016, he has lived with his family in Baden. He is awaiting the outcome of his asylum petition. He has always been concerned with the need to create a secure future for himself and others. The “Dreisprung” association is seeking partnerships, training rooms, administrative support, and much more. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.