Supporting Refugees Transition to their New Life in a Smoother Manner after Being Granted Asylum

Product Statement:


Topic/problem description: We live in an era when the population of displaced people is unprecedentedly tremendous and will keep growing in the foreseeable future due to climate change and wars. A lot of scholars consider the refugee crisis as a side-effect of globalization. Poor refugee-host relations have jeopardized the process of local integration. In some contexts, the hosts are treated as an inferior population, which has caused conflicts and violence between the two parties.  However, refugees are even more vulnerable when they move to developed countries. Even though refugees are kindly welcome in these countries, most local residents only regard them as a humanitarian gesture instead of a part of their local community. Challenges have never ceased to occur since the very beginning.

Primary research showed that in Syracuse, New York, some people were not quite fond of minority cultures especially when it comes to the use of their tax money. Their defence for this statement was that  the government should prioritize domestic problems of unemployment and poverty first. The slogan and ideology of “American First” has profoundly affected a lot of people in the USA.

According to the primary research, it is important for new immigrants to find a safe harbor and gain a sense of belonging in the first place. Once they recover from their trauma and can walk on their own, they will start to integrate into the society more actively and passively through work, school and other activities. In order to achieve this, our first step should be creating a sense of community within the refugee population.

When a person first arrives in a new country, he/she has little knowledge about communication service providers. It is particularly hard for them to stay connected without phone service.Language barrier is the most common obstacle for new immigrants. Based on the research and observation, the integration will be more successful if there are more opportunities for both parties to communicate.

With these factors in mind, how might we support refugees transition to their new life in a smoother manner after being granted asylum.

Mockup screens
App screens
Service Blueprint
Service Blueprint
Screenshots of Ref Help app.
Screenshots of Ref Help app.

Solution: The solution is a service called Ref Help to bring refugees onboard and help them become resilient and independent. The service is based on a service center dedicated to the refugees.

The center is where cultural events, languages courses, legal services and career services will take place. And it is also in charge of dispatching staff and sending people to where it is in need. When refugees first arrive in the States, a group of staff will meet and welcome them in the airport with a gift box containing a smart phone with working SIM card, some Cash, some food from their home country and keys to their new homes. This is a symbol signifying that they are finally free from those suffering and trauma and will be embraced as part of the community here.In the phone, an App will be installed. This App serves as the most frequently used touchpoint in this service. Users can make appointments with advisors and staff from the refugee center, sign up for classes and cultural events. More importantly, refugees can use it as a translation tool, with which they can speak to the phone in their own language and it will translate content into other desired ones. When it comes to a more complicated occasion, the refugees can video call the translators at the service center and have someone to help in real time. The App will also serve as a supplementing tool for language courses, especially for younger audiences who know little English. Users can learn daily vocabularies and dialogues on the app. A social and messaging feature is also included to help users make more friends and connect with others. It is always helpful and inspiring to know about others’ stories and adventures.

Together, these design solutions solve the key problems associated with refugees’ transition to a new environment.