MEET THE TEAM
Founder & Self-made Explorer
"Pass the Crayon is an organization that is designed to create an exchange between people and open new horizons for everybody through artistic workshops. We believe that integration should not be forced, but it is a process of understanding coming from both sides. We are also aware that we are all part of a community, and we just want to take part in it as a citizen who have rights, but also duties. You might call me an utopist but after all, it is not an insult, we all have the right to stand up for our own ideas and to contribute to the world we want to live in. You can't prevent people from deforesting, the only thing that you can do is planting your own trees."
Founder & Self-made multitasker Alien
"Kids can be easily left out because nobody hears their voices, but they have things to say and have feelings that are as valid as adults. As an association, we want to construct a team that revolves around humanity and good values in order to bring something special to the people around us. We can start to work with children and then grow into something bigger, step by step. Because we know how difficult it can be to be a foreigner, but we can only imagine how hard it must be to leave everyone and everything behind in the conditions of war. Our main motivation is to create real relationships with the people we meet every week, so that they can feel that this country can give them a chance!"
I came to Berlin 2 years ago inspired by work of a great scientific group in which I'm doing my PhD.
I enjoy my everyday activities in Berlin and adore days spend hiking, skiing, biking and visiting home. My dream is that everyone can have a good day every day.
Sharon is a full-time art director and leisure-time illustrator and graphic designer. When she is not time travelling in the digital realm, she is busy grazing potatoes, carrots and other edibles in her garden. Her best friend is a cat named Suki.
Clown in Chief
It is as an amateur artist, sculptor of laughing faces and self promoted Clown in Chief that I humbly submit my capacities to make life a dream in permanent mouvement end evolution for the kids. In that way, I wish they can all overcome the nightmare of war and
develop solid minds as well a great fantasy that knows no borders.
And to close this tiny winny mini presentation of a work in progress, a song :
"Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
and merrily hent a stile-a:
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a"
Visual artist & dreamer
"I had never drawn a sheep. So I drew for him one of the two pictures I had drawn so often. It was that of the boa constrictor from the outside.
And I was astounded to hear the little fellow greet it with,
"No, no, no! I do not want an elephant inside a boa constrictor. A boa constrictor is a very dangerous creature, and an elephant is very cumbersome. Where I live, everything is very small. What I need is a sheep. Draw me a sheep."
-Le petit Prince. Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Marketing & Strategy
Manon finished her master's in Political Science last year, and after having worked within an association helping asylum seekers and refugees in Paris, she decided to move in Berlin, in order to continue her work by getting involved as a volunteer in this project. She believes in a less selfish society, and recognises in PTC these values of humility and generosity.
''My mum is an immigrant, she fled Portugal under Salazar's dictatorship when she was 18 years old, and with difficulty had to start and build a new life in France. Her history affected me; I realised two years ago that migration issues would keep rising, and I wanted to take concrete actions to support all of these men, women and children. Today, more than 60 million people are still forcibly displaced and are suffering every day, being exposed to difficult living conditions, discrimination and biases. Refugee children are vulnerable, and therefore I believe it is essential to foster and develop an organisation like PTC, and support the children's well being and integration by art and creation''
Deborah Rodrigues Moreira
Head of Education
Most adults see children as inferior little creatures that don't know anything. Children might not have academical knowledge but they have human wisdom that most adults lose on the process of socialization.
This wisdom is the most important tool in our lives. By learning to connect with creativity, children learn to use their innate wisdom and can become and express fully who they really are. They become adults that are free from poor narratives of "good" and "bad" and live a life that is meaningful to them, and free from any constraints the world can impose on them.
I work with arts and technology for creative development with children all over the world. I participate in research for the European Union in education and technology, and I'm proud to bring everything I learned to Pass the Crayon.
German Chancellor's Fellow
Sailesh Naidu has worked in field of refugee resettlement, international development, and public policy for over a decade. Spending a diverse career working at organizations such as Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee, Open Society Foundation, and the Nike Foundation he is now taking a break as a German Chancellor Fellow researching the social inclusion of refugee youth in Berlin.
Originally from United States Sailesh grew up as child of immigrants before moving to New York City to start his career. He is a big fan of the underdogs which is why he chose to work with Pass The Crayon since 2016 to help serve refugee children and youth see a brighter future in their lives in Germany.
Writer & Expert on educational
programs for at-risk youth
Paul Wisenthal is a Pulitzer Prize nominee and award-winning writer based in New York City who is a consultant at Pass the Crayon. As a leading expert on alternative educational programs for at-risk youth, he has written ground-breaking stories for The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Newsday, USA Today and other major publications.His lectures and workshops (The Power of Story) continue to impact thousands of educators and students at Ivy League colleges and universities, including Yale, Columbia Stanford, New York University, CUNY, Jobs Corps, and Harvard Club’s CEO’s Club.
& Technical Consultant
Although Mirza spent the last 6 years in tech in Berlin working as a project manager, team leader, and business development and strategy consultant, his foundational experiences were in the NGO sector. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirza took his first job with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (now the GIZ), Germany's largest development organization, working within a project designed to establish and develop youth structures in the former Yugoslavia. As a project expert, Mirza helped organize, run, and evaluate workshops with youth aged 14-18 designed to educate on how to set up youth NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project provided seed funding for project development and initiation after approval of project proposals, which was part of Mirza's responsibilities. As a co-founder and budget officer of a youth NGO in Northern Bosnia, Mirza developed fundraising and grant proposals, and received European Commission training on grant writing for special cross-border IPA funds. As a consultant for Pass the Crayon, he lends a hand wherever his skills can be applied, whether that’s copy for the website or an Excel spreadsheet, or advising the founding members on strategy, communications, and fundraising.
"As a former refugee kid from Bosnia, what Pass the Crayon does is close to my heart and means a lot. The workshops are a great way to engage kids and create a space for interaction and creativity. It’s something I felt was missing when I was a kid in a similar situation, and I’m very happy to see the number of activities grow. I am passionate about expanding the scope of what PTC does into educational activities, so get in touch with us if you have ideas!"
HISTORY OF PTC
Who has never been moved by a work of art? Art and culture have the power to transform or enlighten people throughout their lives. Creativity is a powerful tool that encourages us to think outside of the box and gives us the chance to discover an ocean of possibilities. For the two founders of Pass the Crayon, art has always been a pillar in their self-development and they wanted to pass it on to the next generation.
Martin is a young man from Paris who has been drawn to art and culture since his childhood. He insisted that his parents took him to the “Louvre” museum every Sunday when he was 7 years old. He always followed his own dreams in order to stay true to himself and his core values. He decided to educate himself differently and learned several skills in order to gain knowledge in different fields. He worked as a seller for an art gallery, a shoe maker and even an assistant photographer for the “Louvre” museum, which took him back to one of his favorite places as a child. In a very unusual way and with the help of precious people who believed in him and shared their knowledge with him, he created his own specific path. ”Life is too short to compromise and deny who you are in order to fit in the society. Diversity is the most beautiful gift that we all carry and we shouldn't be afraid to reveal who we truly are to the world”, Martin.
Sevin also used art as her main expressive outlet since her childhood. What followed her while growing up was drawing, reading comic books and listening to music, her passions gave her the strength to always move forward. She grew up in Geneva where she connected with kids from all around the world, kids with different stories that she always loved to hear and that really inspired her. She decided that she wouldn’t follow the usual path but chose to work and learn in her own way, with curiosity. Even when she didn’t believe in herself, Sevin kept going and surrounded herself with good friends who supported her. She moved to Berlin when she was 25 to make new experiences and to be creative everyday.
Their friendship is based on mutual understanding facing the same issues as children, but in different contexts. The connection between Martin and Sevin was born when they first met. Because they shared the same sensibility towards arts, people, their surroundings and personal growth. For the past 5 years, they worked at 9 to 5 jobs where they both realized that it wasn’t adapted to their personalities and they couldn’t find meaning in their everyday tasks. They decided to quit their work almost at the same time and after a few month of reflecting, thinking and trying new things, they started Pass the Crayon.