18-year-old Sana wakes up every day at 6am in the apartment she shares with her three sisters and mother on the outskirts of Berlin. She rides the S-Bahn 45 minutes across town and shows up for class by 8am. In school she learns history, geography and math but mostly she learns German. It's a far cry from her life in Kabul, Afghanistan where, instead of going to school or learning how to read and write, she worked as a hairdresser. Now, five days a week Sana goes to school. Once a week she leaves school and puts on borrowed football cleats to join her teammates at Champions ohne Grenzen, a football team for refugee women in Berlin, Germany. The players come from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Somalia and Albania. For most of them, this is the first time they have ever played football.
RISE is a photo and text based book project exploring the players' experiences both on and off the field – at home, with family, navigating German bureaucracy and growing as they become contributing members of their communities. In Berlin since the mass wave of migration in 2015, the women have spent the past few years learning German, going to school and establishing new lives. Two years in the making, the final work combines photography, journals, texts, interviews, poems and drawings in exhibition and book form. It is an intimate portrait of a group of young women and the highs and lows inherent in establishing a new life in a different culture.