Designing services with refugees: an opportunity

Hello all, I think we have an opportunity here. As you know, LOTE5 will feature Ezio Manzini’s workshop to deign care services. Through @KiraVde we have access to some newly arrived Syrian refugees. If we can involve 3-4 of them to participate, we can make the workshop about designing services for refugees. This would be really nice: we could have them as co-leading the workshop with Ezio, thereby making the point that the important thing about people is what they know how to do and not the print on their passports; we could also involve third parties that want to help, but lack access to firsthand experience of what the issues look like. This translates into great storytelling etc.

I already talked to Ayman, and he is up for engaging: the problem is, he cannot commit long-term, because he will receive his papers and then he’ll start working (hopefully). The solution is to ask Ayman to onboard about 10 people, of which some will inevitably bail out but other will come. We need:

  • their names, pics, mini-bios.
  • their consent to appearing as co-protagonists of the workshop.

Kira, can you make this happen by the end of the week?

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Let me talk to Ayman and see

If ten is realistic by the end of this week. I don’t know if he has that many contacts - understandably, he’s mostly been socializing in Dilbeek with Flems.

@Johannes are your Syrian friends well connected to more Syrians? Can you help fill out the list?

It’s Ayham btw

I sensed there was something wrong with this spelling.

I was thinking, as I’m also going to talk about the refugee crisis, specifically about designing a social service for them to integrate in Armenia, any way to join this workshop other then by attending it?

Not sure what you mean

How else would you join it, @Iriedawta?

hmm, I was thinking we could do the workshop together, collaborate in a way, but that’s fine, let’s leave the things as they are.

Communication with Ayham is not going smoothly

But I think I will manage to sit with him tomorrow.

In the meantime I’m contacting Anis and Valerie to see if they’re up for collaborations:



OK, standing by.

Update from Ayham + Hack With Refugees

I had a nice talk with Ayham yesterday. He has been having trouble convincing fellow Syrians - they have gotten weary of trusting strangers. By now, it is just one friend and himself that are surely coming. Two is not much, but on the other hand, these two are paricularly bright and alert.

Ayham himself hadn’t fully understood the intention until we talked it through again last night. He does now and is very excited about the idea, so he’ll probably be able to convince more people still. It made me realize what a big border language is though - do we have anybody besides Nadia who is fully proficient in both Arabic and Enlgish?

Then for anyone in Brussels it’s interesting to check out the Hack with Refugees event happening on Jan 22 and the facebookpage where the event is being co-created. If someone (@alberto?) wants to be put in touch, give a shout.


Guys have a look at this call I wrote?

 As you may know I spent some time with Marco at CERN sketching out a a new project on refugee reception. Something kept bothering me, an itch that I had gotten something fundamentally wrong. A residual memory from a different time and place when my own family had to flee a war and build a new life in Europe…

So I put down my thoughts in the form of an invitation for others in the same situation, as well as those who want to help. Can you have a look at this, poke holes where it is unclear and if possible translate it into your language?

You are not my project | Want to work together to make space for our shared future? -

Refugee problems are just starting

I think war-based refugees will increase exponentially as the climate changes, and from otherwise unexpected areas.  Learning to get this right is going to only grow in importance.  I know I am stating the obvious here.  But this issue is going to be part of every other issue, and on all continents.

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And More Food for Thought

Empowerment Plan is a Detroit company that makes a special coat especially for homeless people that converts into a sleeping bag.  It was designed by a young woman (a child of addicts) who realized that she needed to do more than just make these coats: she needed to create jobs.  So she employs formerly homeless people to do the work.  Brilliant.

Here is a short video:

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