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Max Otto Roller: Striving to Ensure a Better Life for Refugees

Max Otto Roller: Striving to Ensure a Better Life for Refugees


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Max Otto Roller, fundraising director at Fundación ACNUR Argentina. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: It’s wonderful to meet you, Max. I’m curious about the challenges Fundación ACNUR Argentina is addressing. What can you tell me?

Max: It’s great to be here, Spiffy! Our mission is to address the challenge of providing life-saving support and protecting the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless individuals who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, or other crises. We strive to ensure their safety, dignity, and access to essential resources.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Max: My motivation to work at Fundación ACNUR Argentina stems from a deeply personal connection to the refugee cause. My grandfather, Kurt, arrived in Montevideo in 1933 at the age of 19, fleeing from a complex reality in Hamburg. His parents, Anna and Max, made tremendous sacrifices to ensure he could have a peaceful future. His story, like many others, underscores the importance of providing refuge to those in need. Today, with over 110 million refugees and displaced persons worldwide, I carry forward my family's legacy by helping those escaping perilous situations. My motivation is not just humanitarian; it's about preserving the dignity and hope of countless individuals who, like my grandfather, seek safety and a chance for a better life.

Spiffy: More power to you! What is the impact of your work?

Max: Our work has a profound impact on the lives of refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless people. We provide critical support, including shelter, food, healthcare, and legal assistance, ensuring their basic needs are met. Additionally, we advocate for their rights and social integration, fostering a sense of belonging and hope for a better future. Our efforts collectively help restore dignity and rebuild lives for those forced to flee their homes. 

Spiffy: Very inspiring! Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make?

Max: One recent milestone initiative at Fundación ACNUR Argentina is our ambitious goal of reaching one million Argentineans in support of refugees—one million "Ponchos Azules," as we call them. This initiative is a testament to Argentina's culture of integration and solidarity with those forced to flee their homes. Achieving this milestone will not only provide crucial support to refugees but also showcase our nation's commitment to humanitarian values and global responsibility. It's a significant step towards fostering a more inclusive and compassionate society.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Max: I'd like to highlight the transformative power of teamwork, trust, and innovation. Together, we build robust solutions for critical challenges and advocate for those in need. Embracing the energy and vision of new generations, we shape a more compassionate society for everyone.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Max—it’s been an honor!

Max Otto Roller, fundraising director at Fundación ACNUR Argentina, has more than ten years of technology startup experience with a background in digital, marketing, sales, operations, logistics, sustainability, fundraising, and innovation. He is a sports wellness enthusiast, an advisor, and a board member. (First published on the Ladderworks website on October 12, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.