Social Design
User Experience Design
Visual merchandising
Megan Walsh
Timeline 3 weeks

The world is currently experiencing the highest levels of human displacement on record. Over 70 million people are Refugees, Asylum- Seekers, homeless or stateless. The RSA asked for design solutions to help displaced people find hope, dignity and safety in their lives. In Ireland, Refugees are currently in a failing system known as Direct Provision. 
There is nothing effective in place in Ireland and the UK that enables Refugees to make genuine friendships with each other or indigenous people. This means Refugees/Asylum Seekers, particularly women and 19–24 year old men, become isolated very quickly. Additionally, organisers of initiatives that integrate Refugees, Asylum Seekers and indigenous people have no promotional platform.
Our solution is designed to make Refugees and Asylum Seeker's resettlement more informed and connect them to people who want to befriend them through print, an app and a promotional campaign. An ongoing dialogue with Spirasi (a charity that help Refugees and Asylum Seekers that are victims of torture) was an excellent compass in navigating such a complex topic. They placed huge emphasis on the role genuine friendships have in enabling people to rebuild their lives.
100,000 Welcomes refers to the Irish phrase 'Céad Mile Failte' 
(100,000 welcomes to you.) By
 interviewing different Refugee charities, we gained great insight into the needs of Refugees/Asylum Seekers and the isolation they feel;
“They dont want more people asking what happened to them. They dont want sympathy. They want friends, someone to have a coffee with. To just begin to feel normal again.”
- Spirasi MLR Doctor.
The booklet is a clear, concise guide through the asylum seeking process, a services/legal aid directory and a directory of all local meetups/clubs/enterprises that befriend and empower refugees. It would be widely distributed in Airports, Ports, Direct Provision centres and participating businesses, ensuring as many Refugees as possible are informed of the process and their rights.
The booklet is language supported – currently in French, Arabic and Russian. This would continue to expand, becoming available in several languages. The illustrations are inclusive, welcoming and diverse without directly referring to race, religion or nationality.
Security and trust are huge concerns. Refugees and Asylum-seekers can have trauma from being under surveillance. Trust is established between 100,000 Welcomes and the user, assuring data protection and privacy.
Above are key spreads from the asylum process guide. It addresses glaring issues like how legal applications are explained, language barriers and the lack of clarity around Direct Provision. Informing people of their rights and explaining everything clearly is vital for people to obtain Refugee Status.
Clubs, activities and initiatives that welcome, befriend and empower Refugees can be in the community directory. This makes it much easier for Refugees to socialise and make friends and promotes those who feature in the directory. It would also direct users to the 100,000 app. The directory is divided into categories like sport, arts and culture, etc.
The 100,000 Welcomes app provides continuous updates on social gatherings in the user's locality that help Refugees make new friends. The app enables users to quickly find specific areas and topics that cater to their interests. Articles relating to their physical, mental wellbeing and asylum-seeking journey are an important feature. The megaphone icon reads out content to illiterate users. 
Sport was identified in our research as an excellent method of integration. The Gaelic Athletic Association and Sanctuary Runners are Irish exemplars of integration. The app deals with many safety and privacy concerns Refugees face. Anonymity is at the forefront with illustrated icons as avatars, rather than a profile picture. Only they can see their information. ​​​​​​​Only events with several people feature (not 1-1 meetings).
The user can track personal progress, to prevent every day from 'feeling the same', something that takes a huge toll on the mental health of those in Direct Provision. A sense of progress is a vital part of feeling productive and happy, especially for those rebuilding their lives. 
Wearable ephemera like clothing and badges make a strong statement. Ireland's Repeal the Eighth wearable ephemera made it a more personal, compassionate movement rather than a political protest.
Supportive businesses can put up supergraphics from 100,000 welcomes. Like a Tripadvisor sticker, it positively denotes that business, showing refugees that they are welcome there. We hope it would bring out and inspire the Irish reputation of being friendly and welcoming.
"An initiative like this is definitely needed. It would be such a great   way for Refugees and Asylum seekers to get their lives back on   track and to make friends. We would definitely use this."
 - Spirasi team in Phibsborough, Dublin.
Project has been designed, produced, assembled and photographed by Eadaoin Hennessy and Megan Walsh.
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