How might we help Syrian refugees feel welcome in the US?
We helped to organize a series of workshops on behalf of Greater NYC Families for Syria.
What began as a Facebook forum for parents looking to assist Syrians abroad and in the United States, the group has grown to over 1,000 members in just three months. The group act as an honest broker, matching donations with humanitarian groups and helping to co-ordinate and organize the growing membership of people who want to help meet the needs of Syrian refugees in the Greater New York area.
The first workshop was designed to bring together people on the online group, face-to-face with organizations that are supporting Syrian refugees in different ways and to help identify Champions of new initiatives that needed support.
It was hosted the day after news of the so called ‘Muslim ban’ was signed and as a result, the event was hugely oversubscribed.
We used a World cafe methodology to help people find others who wanted to change the same thing.
We designed a second event in late February at the Center for Social Innovation in NYC. This was a Design Challenge workshop where participants had to try and solve a genuine facing Syrian families who had relocated to the US- how to earn enough money to survive. We heard from a resettlement expert who shared the profile of a typical Syrian family and their cost of living.
Participants used art materials to prototype different solutions and presented these back to the Resettlement agency who offered feedback.
A few new ideas emerged from the workshop that were taken back and implemented- namely that Syrian refugee men with limited English could work as Superintendents in New York.