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Mareike Geiling

[Photo: Shooresh Fezoni]

Most Creative People 2016

Mareike Geiling

Cofounder, Refugees Welcome | Berlin

For opening doors and hearts

Mareike Geiling brought to Refugees Welcome a background in PR and culural science. Jonas Kakoschke had his expertise in graphic and communication design. Both shared a heart of compassion for the growing number of refugees--by some estimates 1 million and counting--in Germany. So, in late 2014, after they had offered a room in their Berlin apartment to a refugee from Mali, they and a social-worker friend launched Refugees Welcome, aiming to match potential hosts to guests. Today, the couple runs the German mothership of a network that has grown to include similar operations in nine countries and has housed 600 refugees, half through the German operation, which now has nine employees. That may seem like a small number, but the founders believe that their cultural example is more important than any raw stats.

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