A holistic approach to helping refugees adapt to life away from home
Using mobile to help refugees find nearby peers, resources (e.g. schools, job training ), and relevant content (e.g. language skills).
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
Refugees often find themselves far from home, not knowing the language, and unsure where to find housing or a job. After speaking with refugees and experts, we have decided to develop a mobile app that will address these concerns for a smoother transition away from home.
Connecting refugees with nearby services:
Our idea uses mobile technology to connect users to nearby services that they would need immediately upon arrival, such as where to find housing and food. In addition, the app will connect users to places that will help them become self sufficient in the long term, such as nearby schools and job training centers that are friendly to the refugee population.
Connecting refugees with each other:
Refugees are able to attend or create events to connect with each other and share skills, tips on getting settled, and the like.
Connecting refugees with relevant information:
Our idea also provides refugees with useful information, such as basic language skills, letting them know their rights as a refugee, and providing the latest news from back home.
The initial version of the app will be developed on a smart phone, with plans to adapt it to a feature phone to extend its reach. The first communities will be those like Syrian refugees, where 40% have access to smart phones, or refugees residing in developed countries like the United States, Germany, and the UK. The app has broad reach in that it can be tailored for refugees from any location.
Using wireframes of the proposed app, we have had several interviews with refugees and experts from around the world, which, after countless iterations, has driven us to our current design. These conversations are still ongoing as we continue to refine the design.
We initially thought that allowing refugees to search for each other by name, location, and other self identifying information would be a valuable addition to the app. After feedback from refugees, we learned that many refugees are hesitant to put this type of information into an app because they do not know who might be searching for them.
SKILL SHARE (optional)
We would love feedback on how to make the app more effective. For example, what nearby locations are most relevant? What content should we make sure to include?
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
This idea is being developed by Timshel (www.timshel.com), a social impact technology and strategy company located in Chicago, USA.
IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?
Yes, and I am looking for a partner working with refugee communities to implement this idea.