We look at this positive and enlightening book by Andrew Leon Hanna. You can see more about it here.
25 Million Sparks: The Untold Story of Refugee Entrepreneurs, reviewed
Andrew Leon Hanna takes us on an important and relevant deep dive into the struggles of refugees, in this case from Syria, but their experiences and challenges are of course relevant for many more communities as well. The three people featured are all dynamic and making a success of it, and yet it seems like they have been anonymised. As they are entrepreneurs this seemed like a missed opportunity for them, as they are clearly aiming to make a splash and reach a wider audience.
The fact that they are Syrian also illustrates that the current disruption and tragedy unfolding in Ukraine is not a one off incident, but part of a series of aggressive actions by Russia, in Georgia, the Crimea eight years ago, and also in Africa too. It is perhaps a fair comment that more overage has been given to Ukraine in the West, for many reasons, including its geographical proximity. In this context this book is a great attempt to tell the stories of other people whose lives have been brutally disrupted through no fault of their own.
The influx of refugees to many countries often stirs up nationalistic jingoistic, and aggression and racism. Books like this can, hopefully, at least help to try and humanise the people involved, their suffering, and their desire to simply live happy and fulfilled lives. They are not coming for our jobs, or anything else either. This book is accessible and well written, and hopefully it achieves the impact it is looking for.
More about the book
25 Million Sparks: The Untold Story of Refugee Entrepreneurs (Cambridge University Press) by Andrew Leon Hanna (Stanford Knight-Hennessy Scholar, Harvard attorney, Forbes 30 Under 30) tells the story of three Syrian women entrepreneurs in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, and of the broader global refugee entrepreneurship phenomenon they represent.
It has been called “a powerful story of hope” by Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, a chance to”discover humanity at its best” by PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff, “inspir[ing]” by the Financial Times, and “uplifting” by Publishers Weekly.Amid the largest refugee crisis in history, 25 Million Sparks seeks to tell a story that reflects the equal dignity of refugees… a story of power, determination, and dignity – of igniting the brightest sparks of joy, even when the rest of the world sees only the darkness.
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