Crowdfunding since 2010
“Cucula” is a word from the Hausa language and means “to connect something, to do together”. The CUCULA – Refugees Company for Crafts and Design is dedicated to help refugees to build their own future. As a manufacturing company producing design classics by Enzo Mari, CUCULA is offering apprenticeship placements and by this enabling new and real perspectives for refugees. Our first goal is to finance five educational scholarships and to raise money for running the CUCULA-Company.
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Funding period
11/25/14 - 1/1/15
01.01.2015 bis 31.12.2015
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Minimum amount (Start level): €
70,000 €
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What is this project all about?

CUCULA is a registered society, a workshop and educational program at once. In contrast to merely theoretical debates about the situation of refugees in Germany, CUCULA tested a straight way to act for and with refugees in Berlin. Together we want to build and establish a business!

CUCULA Workshop
Over the last few months the CUCULA-Workshop has turned into an impressive project space close to the river Spree: Refugees are here building premium wood furniture with the help of designers. By exchanging knowledge about wood processing, construction and planning, individual ideas find their way into the project. The design classics are evolving...

CUCULA Education
A connected education project offers language and school education and supports during the bureaucratic every day life and by giving legal advise. Refugees should feel supported when they arrive and should not have to face closed doors. This is vital to overcome the imposed trap of inactivity they often have to experience.

CUCULA Association
The association CUCULA e.V. is the legal framework for workshop & education program.
(The application to reach nonprofit-status is still in progress.) As an association we offer a platform for exchange with experts, interested people and volunteers and supporters. If this pilot project is successful the CUCULA - Refugees Company for Crafts and Design will be hived off as a non-profit company (gGmbH).

The products – Classics designed by Enzo Mari and made by refugees:
The factory operates based on the principles of the design for do-it-yourself-furniture from the famous italian designer Enzo Mari. Mari set a milestone in the history of design by presenting 19 furniture designs in the book “Autoprgettazione?”, in 1974. Designed to oppose formalism and pushing for a more democratic approach in design, he provoked a way to learn and reflect on the individual potential of creative power. Here, design as a handcraft and artistic culture directly connects with sustainable development and social responsibility.

Forty years later, Enzo passes the production rights to CUCULA – A good start for a small enterprise, as we strongly believe!
Maris furniture presents real opportunities for refuguees to stay.
CUCULA is a cultural as well as an economic driven project. It pushes the boundaries of how helping refugees is usually organized and executed.

Our range of products includes the Mari-Classic “Sedia Uno” in many varieties – from the classic to a children’s bank designed by Malik Agachi! In this creative argument, the design classics meet with the stories of their builder.

Exclusively, we also offer a limited edition of the “Botschafterstuhl” (Ambassador Chair) a version of the classical wooden construction into which the refugees integrate relicts from their dangerous journey over the mediterranean sea. By doing this, documents of history that reach out far beyond the pure value of furniture usage are being created.

For more information:

What is the project goal and who is the project for?

The aim of this campaign is the initial funding of five apprenticeship places in a unique company from and for refugees: CUCULA - Refugees Company for Crafts and Design.
The social start-up should become a self sustaining business & financially support the trainees, a trainer and a commercial manager. Profits made will flow back directly into the association.
We will create a collaborative training with a vocational center, in order to make it possible for the trainees to reach an officially accepted education degree.

The target group we have in mind is all of you! Everybody who wants to support change by a simple, but effective action. And of course every one who wants to own a real chair and design classic from Enzo Mari.

CUCULA wants to establish itself as a sensational manufactory for design in Berlin!
The chairs should reach out and live in noble mansions, shared flats, offices, coffee places and dental offices. We invite everybody to come by and experience the comfort of these furniture pieces and to join the controversial and heated debate about european border and refugee politics – let's discuss together how to solve this problem.

Gift Voucher
If you would like to offer a CUCULA-product as a gift for christmas, then you will find a print-out voucher on our website

Please consider our "value added gift campaign"

You think we do great furniture, but you have no place left at home? Simply give away a chair or more to a social service provider in need and double your good deed!

Its easy, please select from the following options and change the delivery address in the order form to:

A) Kita "Tarzan und Isolde e.V.", Friedelstraße 28, 12047 Berlin (GER)
This kinderladen had to leave its rooms after 15 years just recently. The kids & the nursery nurses would be very happy about a few new children chairs & benches in their new rooms!

B) Internationaler Bund (IB), Verbund Berlin Erziehungshilfen, Mehringdamm 107, 10965 Berlin (GER)
In these facilities in Marienfelde around 700 refugees are waiting for a new future. In the various rooms like, a girls meet-up, youth club, reading rooms, schooling & children care facilities some nice furniture is urgently needed.

C) CABUWAZI Kinder- und Jugendzirkus, Bouchéstr. 74, 12435 Berlin (GER)
This circus from & for children and teenager is active to help creating a more engaged & tolerant Berlin youth, a more viral, open-minded and a more all-inclusive Berlin society.

D) Anyone you want to donate a CUCULA chair

We'll deliver the furniture you've picked at any delivery address (inside the EU) if this campaign is successful.

Why would you support this project?

Worldwide catastrophe scenarios shouldn’t leave us feeling helpless – Initiatives are needed.
CUCULA believes in the potential of refugees and organizes a real economic and legal framework for these young men to develop further in a self-sustained way. Arriving and building your own future, experiencing self-efficacy instead of being managed and deported, these are the important impulses of this project. A simple economic model, to help refugees navigate the traps of bureaucracy and lead them out and away from social subordination/dependency.

Design creates perspectives: The refugees currently participating in the project are Ali Maiga Nouhou, Maiga Chamseddine, Saidou Moussa, Mousa Usuman and Malik Agachi. All of them come from West-Central Africa. Forced to leave their homes because war and droughts had destroyed their living conditions, they fled to Germany via Lampedusa and Italy - a journey which took years.
Being able to support themselves and earn their own living is something they urgently wish for.
Building your own furniture – getting active by yourself. At the same time the company offers concrete job- and residential perspectives.

How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?

- with the achievement of the funding-treshold of 70.000 €: We want to realize five scholarships for refugees. This means 5 x 12.000 € for a one year live maintainance garanty for the immigration office to ask for residency for an apprenticeship. The other 10.000 € are used for social security taxes, lawyer's fees and other charges.
- with the achievement the funding-treshold of 70.000 € we will receive another 30.000 € from our matching partner. We use this for the rent of the workshop as well as the salaries for training supervision, German teacher and the manager/salesman in the boosting phase of the company.

- Reaching a funding target of 150.000 € (incl. 30.000 matching partner) would make our wildest dreams come true. We would now be able to finance an entire year of CUCULA business operations and could expand our sales to finance the next years trainee program all by ourselves.

After a successful start in 2015, the design company will be set up & operational to manage future sales financing the income of our refugee-employees. Future apprenticeship programs are also being discussed right now.

Any donation will help to prolong the length of breath for our new company to succeed!

*** IMPORTANT! *** If you need a donation receipt, then please address your donation directly to our headquarters:
International Youth Art- und Culture Center „Schlesische27“:

Account: Verein zur Förderung der interkulturellen Jugendarbeit e.V. / Schlesische27 subject: WeltWerkstatt CUCULA IBAN: DE37 1005 0000 0640 0030 60 SWIFT-BIC: BELADEBEXXX

The YouthArt and Cultural Centre Schlesische27 is currently the institution organizing the CUCULA Education project. Donations going to this association are used to finance the training supervision, social and pedagogical support, German classes as well as art workshops. In this context the Schlesische27 may in particular cases also pay a scholarship.

Who are the people behind the project?

During the winter of 2013, the Youth Art- und Culture Centre „Schlesische27“ in Berlin-Kreuzberg created a shelter and home for the five young men from West Africa. Soon after the shelter was built Ali, Maiga, Moussa, Saidou and Malik started to make a first set of furniture for their new homes with the support of the product designer Sebastian Däschle. This is where the idea for the workshop project CUCULA and finally the registered association developed.

The core team is made up of the following people: designer Corinna Sy, head of Schlesische27 Barbara Meyer, social education worker Jessy Medernach and volunteers Sophie Cuvelier and Andreas Berschauer.

There is also a huge number of dear voluntary supporters, like Jutta Spychalski who is helping with professional language teaching, and our grand dame and ongoing supporting patroness Annelise Bödecker, who still remembers the challenges of mass exoduses at the end of the Second World War – with our sincere thanks for all the great support!

CUCULA Education is receiving financial support from the Fonds Soziokultur & the Stiftung Pfefferberg. Thank you so much for this courageous decision!


The crowdfunding project has been successfully completed. Supporting and ordering is no longer available on Startnext.

  • The processing of orders placed will be handled directly by the project owners according to the stated delivery time.

  • The production and delivery is the responsibility of the project owners themselves.

  • Cancellations and returns are subject to the terms and conditions of the respective project owner.

  • Revocations and cancellations via Startnext are no longer possible.

What does this mean? 
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Corinna Sy
℅ Schlesische 27B
10997 Berlin Deutschland

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