Starting Over! Photo Exhibition

picture of Elias Mamo, selling cheese in his stall at Erlangen's Martkplat

Starting Over showcases photographs and stories of success from refugees in various parts of Germany. The photo exhibit brings to life their colorful journeys from fear and uncertainty to fruitful new beginnings.  It is a celebration of human resilience and strength.

The exhibit represents a broad vision of success, showing photographs of students, entrepreneurs and professionals as they carve their own path in this new land they call home. One of the portraits to be featured is that of a charming cheese-vendor from Erlangen.

Elias Mamo, a man of Ethiopian descent, arrived in Germany as a refugee in 1989, escaping war and conflict back home. Today, he sells cheese through his own stand named Kӓse Mo at Erlangen’s Marktplatz. “When I arrived, I had no expectations,” he said. After being moved from one city to the next, he finally got to study and find work. In 1993, he moved to Erlangen, where he found love and started a family, eventually setting-up his own business. He said that learning the German language was vital to his success, and recommends it to all refugees in order to integrate as soon as possible. However, he expressed that he didn’t like the word integration. “If it’s only the guest who is expected to do something, it is one-sided. It must be from both sides,” he argued, sharing that both the hosts and the guests must be willing to learn from each other. “Diversity makes a place more beautiful,” he concluded with a grin.

Starting Over is a timely reminder that refugees are not merely a statistic. They are individuals—each of them with a face, each of them with a story.

The exhibit will be open from July 26 to August 18, 2018 at the Erlangen’s City Library (Stadtbibliothek, Marktplatz 1, Erlangen).

Starting Over is organized by students of the Master in Human Rights program of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. For inquiries, please contact Ebony Lautner at: