The Story Store is a project under the umbrella of the MasterPeace Club Wiesbaden and was grateful to receive funding from EUU Social Action in 2018. Their mission is to sell unusual books and textile goods closely related to the artists and storytellers and bring the tales of activists around the world to audiences, thereby building connections between people. Find out more here: https:www.startnext.com/the-story-store.

The Story Store project was begun in 2018 by a former student of Bonnie Friedmann (WUU), Bledion Vladi. Bledion himself came to Bad Homburg, Germany, as a refugee from Albania about three years ago and was offered a scholarship at Accadis International School.

While finishing his IB diploma and participating in the school’s theater club, Bledion also found time every Saturday to teach German to other refugees in Wiesbaden. Doing this, he got the idea to put together a book of their stories.

This project fit in well with the goals of MasterPeace Wiesbaden, whose mission is to host intercultural projects, tell stories, work together, learn, laugh and celebrate. Find out more on their Facebook site, MasterPeace Wiesbaden. The club is one of more than 45 such groups around the world in over 40 countries. The umbrella organization, MasterPeace, is an award-winning grassroots non-profit and non-governmental peace movement, begun by partners based in the Netherlands and Egypt. Find out more here www.masterpeace.org.

With the help of Kristin Tauch, who founded MasterPeace Wiesbaden in May of 2017, Bledion founded The Story Store project as a social business, an online shop, through a successful Startnext Crowdfunding campaign which raised over 10,000 EUR.

Bledion also helped MasterPeace Wiesbaden win a Deutscher Integrations-Preis in 2018, which helped fund the first book published by The Story Store in July of 2018, Warum Wir Hier Sind: Reisegeschichte aus unsere Welt.

The book shares nineteen very different stories of refugees, with fitting illustrations by Tobias Borries. Inspirational, informative and deeply moving, the book begins with the heart-wrenching tale of a young boy who leaves behind his family in Somalia to avoid becoming a child soldier and ends with Bledion’s own amazing story.

Although the book is currently only available in German, Bledion’s next goal is to find an English publisher and get the book translated and distributed. Bledion is excited about sharing more with us about The Story Store at the upcoming fall 2019 retreat in Bad Homburg and will be offering a workshop. WUU hopes that EUU and its members will continue to support this worthy project in any way they can.