»Für einen neuen Blick auf das Potenzial kultureller Vielfalt“

Herzlich willkommen in der Ashoka Fellowship, Anne Kjaer Bathel! Mit der ReDI School of Digital Integration bringt Anne eine Community von Unternehmen, IT-Fachleuten und Migrant:innen zusammen, um gemeinsam einen neuen Integrationsprozess zu schaffen, der den interkulturellen Austausch, gemeinsames Lernen und gegenseitiges Verständnis fördert. Dadurch schafft sie nicht nur neue Zugänge zum Arbeitsmarkt für Geflüchtete, sondern eröffnet Unternehmen und der Gesellschaft einen neuen Blick auf das Potenzial von kultureller Vielfalt.


Which world, which society are you woking towards and why?

My family is one of entrepreneurs, refugees and freedom fighters. My great grandfather was forced to flee Germany in 1933 because of his pacifist conviction. I’m here today, because they were given a fresh start and a chance back then. That’s what I do now, three generations later, to other families. 

I was raised with the legacy, that you need to work for creating the world you want to live in. While having started various initiatives, I today am the CEO and Co-founder of ReDI School. The name ReDI derives from „readiness“ and „digital integration“. I founded the organisation in the middle of the socalled „Refugee Crisis“ in 2015 to teach technology to newcomers to accelerate job market integration. ReDI School is a classical win-win-win situation. We bring migrants in jobs, we bring diverse tech talents to the companies and accelerate and improve jobmarket integration for Germany.  


Could you give us a little insight to what you and your team are building and which pathways you take?

ReDI School of Digital Integration is today a non-profit, social enterprise, tech school located in Berlin, Munich, North Rhine-Westphalia (Düsseldorf, Duisburg), Copenhagen and Aarhus. ReDI School offers free high-quality coding classes for tech-interested “newcomers” as well as locals without access to digital education or a professional network. Additionally, ReDI School teaches soft skills, connects its students with mentors, and organizes networking events with companies for a fast-track integration into jobs.

In view of a serious shortage of over 86,000 open IT jobs in Germany (*Bitkom, 2020), companies also benefit from this program. The supporters of the ReDI School include around 100 companies, such as Accenture, Cisco, Microsoft, Klöckner & Co., Coca-Cola Foundation, Chanel Foundation, Deloitte, Deutsche Bahn Stiftung, JP Morgan Foundation, Villum Fonden, and the City of Munich (MBQ). Since founding the first ReDI School in Berlin in February 2016, more than 5,000 students from over 50 nations have been trained for the German job market. Each semester more than 900 experts from more than 20 countries volunteer (as coaches, mentors or teachers) at the ReDI School and accompany the students on their integration process. Today 60% of the students are female. And in parallel to the high-end tech and coding-classes ReDI School also offers digital literacy training for newcomers, as well as programs and workshops especially for women, kids and teens. 

ReDI School is AZAV-certified (Accreditation and Licensing Ordinance Employment Promotion) and caries the Phineo Impact Stamp. In 2018, the Financial Times Germany named ReDI School one of the 100 most innovative initiatives in Europe. In 2018 Handelsblatt named me “Encourager of the Year” and in 2020 I won the Germans Start-up Award as the best female social entrepreneur.


How did your own journey as changemaker for a just and sustainable society start?

I told you a bit of my families past – and I have always been interested in societal innovation for as long as I could think. I had the chance to study value based leadership and social entrepreneurship at the KaosPilots in Aarhus (2003-06). After working a few years as a CSR consultant I went back to university and studied a master degree in Peace Studies in Japan, with a focus on open social innovation. My studies took me to Silicon Valley where I wrote my thesis with OpenIDEO and in 2011. I met the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab team, which back then was part of the persuasive technology lab. It made me interested in building the bridge between the social innovation community and the tech- and startup community. In 2012 I moved to Berlin and set up the Peace Innovation Lab here. ReDI School is an independent spin-off of the Peace Innovation Lab.


You know Ashoka’s vision is to help build a world in which everyone can be a changemaker for the good of all. How could I support your mission?

Oh, there are many actionable ways. You can be a mentor at ReDI School and coach one of our students 1 hour per month for a minimum of 6 months. You can also give a soft skills workshop 2 hours a month for 4 months. Or you can be a tech teacher: teaching 2-4 hours weekly/biweekly for 4 months. We also look for partners who offer paid internships or junior positions in tech to our graduates. And funding partners, too, off course. The cost per students is 1,000 Euro per semester in Germany.


Would you share a helpful tip you received during your journey as a social entrepreneur with us?

Only hire people you would sit next to on a flight to Sydney. Having a good team is key!


Ashoka sucht, fördert und begleitet Menschen, die mit neuen Ansätzen („system-changing new ideas“) beitragen, gesellschaftliche Herausforderungen zu überwinden – und dadurch helfen eine chancengerechte und nachhaltige Welt zu gestalten. Menschen, die sich durch ihren unternehmerischen Geist, Kreativität und Integrität auszeichnen. Wen kennt ihr, die:der von der Ashoka Fellowship profitieren könnte? Schlagt uns Kandidat:innen vor, wir freuen uns von euch zu hören! >> Hier geht’s zur Nominierung. Für Rückfragen steht euch Clara Bräuer im Team gern zur Verfügung.