Germany. Volunteers in a small German town are tirelessly supporting refugees and asylum-seekers in re-building their lives and overcoming past traumas. In turn, they say the newcomers have made life more interesting.

Germany, Neu Wulmstorf, Lower Saxony, April 29, 2017, As well as one-on-one support, the volunteers of the volunteer initiative ‘Welcome to Neu Wulmstorf’ offer swimming lessons to groups of Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans.

Syrian refugee Mohammad Al-Akily, 27, from Hama, Syria says his biggest thanks goes to network volunteers Heino Rahmstorf and Thomas Bartens, who have spent the past year teaching him to swim. Every Saturday morning, along with a group of other previous non-swimmers, Mohammad practices diving, front crawl and breast stroke in the local pool.

Before learning to swim, Mohammad first had to overcome the memory of his near-death experience in the Aegean Sea. Like so many others his overcrowded dinghy sank while crossing from Turkey to Greece in summer 2015. Although he couldn’t swim, Mohammad survived over an hour in the water, fighting to stay afloat until he was rescued. The ordeal left him with a paralysing dread of the water.

Here: Salim Mohamadi,22, Afghastistan.