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The establishment of Same Skies was inspired by the founders' many years of international refugee work, including on Nauru and Manus Island. We realised that refugees are too often perceived as vulnerable or even as a burden, and that their needs are still mostly defined by outsiders. The consequence are often expensive, top-down assistance programmes that let the potential of refugees go to waste. There is an urgent need for innovative approaches that have the capacity to address enormous global challenges, while at the same time genuinely empowering displaced communities to live with self-determination and dignity Our ideology is simple: people own their own lives, whatever their situation. Hence, we value and strengthen existing capacities. Simple… yet very innovative! We do not have “beneficiaries”; we have partners! It is all about what people can do for themselves and each other. Refugee protection should be about collectively creating an environment that allows everyone to claim their rights. Our utmost achievement is that we help communities to lift themselves out of a state of inactivity, depression and trauma. And along with the social benefits, utilising existing capacities enables us to be more cost-effective than common approaches. Furthermore, the involvement of refugees in all stages of project management generates activities that are culturally sensitive, context-specific & relevant.