I am passionate about
I am passionate about migration, sustainable development and social justice - driven by the profound believe that human protection is always a complementary, and never a competing, imperative next to other security interests and economic objectives. I have worked extensively with juvenile offenders in the squatters of Manila where I experienced clients commit suicide, investigated - while undercover - sex trafficking in Zambales Province, and came to support survivors struggling to piece together their lives in the aftermaths of the typhoons Pablo and Kai-Tak. From these different, yet strikingly similar stories of human tragedy and infinite sadness, I also witnessed the beauty and strength of human resilience and perseverance. These were some of the defining moments that shaped the person that I am today and that developed my resolve and motivation to help those in need.
Since two years, I have now been involved with the social enterprise and global open source movement Liter of Light as a Director for Expansion and Partnerships, spreading sustainable DIY solar light solutions around the world. Since 2011, we have lit up more than 850,000 homes in over 23 countries, creating local jobs, training green skills, and empowering energy-poor communities. Our inclusive open source approach, allows us to altogether address 15 out of 17 goals on the SDG agenda. UNESCO, UNHCR, and UNFCCC have formally recognised the success of our micro-entrepreneurial approach which has already empowered women cooperatives, unemployed youth, refugees, and now also former FARC members in the framework of a Colombian peace project. At the same time, our solutions are uniquely helpful in the case of disaster, as fast supply-chains and the knowledge transfer ensure that communities can quickly rebuild the lighting solutions themselves. Safe corridors of light can be erected by the community members immediately after the disaster, reducing the high post-calamity crime rates by 60-70%.
Following my work with juvenile offenders and victims of human trafficking in the Philippines (2012-2013), I co-founded a German NGO in 2013 and was its chairman for two years, raising €90,000 for campaigns and projects related to fight human trafficking and juvenile rehabilitation projects.
Furthermore, I was appointed Director for Expansion and Partnerships of Liter of Light, a social enterprise movement for DIY solar light solutions in 23 countries, recognized by UNESCO, UNHCR, UNFCCC, and different national governments as groundbreaking initiative under the agenda Sustainable Development Goals.
As Head Organiser of a corporate lecture series of my university, I hosted amongst others Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, the Dutch Minister for Development and Founder of the ‘Ploumen for Women’ Fund, Lilianne Ploumen, the young political activist Erin Schrode, and a debate between the Ambassador of Israel and the Chief Representative of the Palestinian Mission to the Netherlands.
The ongoing refugee management (!) crisis shook my believes in the values of our European society to the core. Since its beginning, I have worked with different refugee organizations across Europe and have formed lasting friendships with unaccompanied refugee minors in the Netherlands. This spring, I spent time with the Greek NGO Emergency Response International to engage in search and rescue operations as well as refugee camp site management in Lesvos, Greece.
My engagement with various non-profits and social enterprises has led me to recognize that there are certain limitations to advocacy. I am now convinced that for true change to happen we must, at times, not reduce ourselves to try and change the minds of decisionmakers, but change the decisionmakers altogether. In consequence, I joined a political party in Germany in 2016 and am passionately engaging now to co-create a younger, more diverse, and meritocratic political landscape.