Refugees face a myriad of barriers to accessing trusted information, which leads to vulnerability and reliance on their hosts.
The animation I created aims to summarise the experiences of both refugees and hosts through the Homes for Ukraine program in the UK.
My peers and I co-designed a service concept, Context, which helps newly-arrived families settle in the UK.
Context was developed and validated through a series of in-depth interviews with refugees, workshops and feedback sessions.
Our group interviewed over 20 organisations, including charities, UN agencies, local authorities, volunteers, and refugee networks.
We also did seven in-depth interviews with Ukrainian refugees to gain a better understanding of the situation for refugees and asylum seekers globally and locally.
7,900,000 people have fled Ukraine and registered themselves in Europe.
There are over 160 thousand Ukrainian refugees in the UK (gov.uk), predominantly women (85%) and their children.
They face a language barrier challenge which affects all domains of life from schooling to employment. Half of the Ukrainians residing in the UK face barriers to accessing work, whereby their qualifications are not recognised in the UK.
is to create a refugee-led service platform which enables community members to share lived experiences, easing the challenges of resettlement.
At the onset of a crisis, people turn to friends and informal networks. Sharing of lived experience enables trust.
From being matched with a helpful host to being isolated in a hotel, the refugee experience can vary greatly. This first point of contact is pivotal to a positive experience.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme provides six months of support for designated hosts. However, families face homelessness as financial support ends. 45% face barriers to accessing private accommodation without a guarantor or reference.
Based on these insights, we organised a co-creation session with 4 Ukrainian refugees. Together, we brainstormed 6 potential directions for the project. We then went to get feedback and validation from the Ukrainian refugee community at the White Eagle club.
How does it work?
Using context, refugees can easily find explanations from an actual human to understand the differences between how things work in their home country compared to in the UK. They can ask questions, flag information, and even become a contributor themselves.
Context has a three-way value exchange between the stakeholders pictured below.
Organisations can pay small fees to contract translated content; access data on information gaps and needs; share technology services to reduce promotional costs, increase accurate referrals, reduce administrative burdens.
Refugees and asylum seekers can pose questions about settling in the UK
Mission-obsessed volunteers are incentivised to answer questions because the platform creates an efficient way to maximise what they’re already doing; they get motivation from the feedback received
Context could be utilised by all refugee communities, and the platform will adapt according to needs. By scaling across a plethora of services, like banking and health care which are largely inaccessible to diverse communities. Ultimately, our solution could have exponential use cases.
With the help of Hellon and other partners, we're developing an MVP-style prototype that will be tested with a group of Ukrainian refugees in the summer of 2023.