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Ford C3-Winning Townbee Helping Syrian Refugees Adjust to New Lives

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Hafez Al-Moussa Townbee

Townbee, one of the winning projects from the 2017 Ford College Community Challenge formulated by students at The Technical University of Munich, has been vital not only in helping foster honeybee populations but in helping Syrian refugees become integrated in new societies.

“Like the bees, we’ve struggled for survival. The first moments in Germany were difficult. Simple things like crossing a road or buying food are more challenging when you cannot speak the language,” said Hafez Al-Moussa, a 28-year-old who fled Syria two years ago and gave up his civil engineering studies in the process.

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“It was incredibly exciting to share the excitement of harvesting the first Townbee honey with my new German friends—who had never before seen a bee hive,” added Al-Moussa, who has since enrolled at The Technical University of Munich. “Townbee has helped me to meet people, share new experiences, learn the language and traditions of my new country, and more clearly see my future. As well as the friends I have made through the project, I also have 40,000 little bees who rely on me. Sometimes I tell them about my future hopes in Germany.”

Based in Munich, Townbee’s hives lie in gardens and company rooftops, and the honey produced therefrom is sold at shops and markets throughout the city. The proceeds from those sales are put back into the project, which is set to expand into additional cities throughout Europe in the future.

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