The purpose of this simulation was to show people the harsh reality of a refugee's life. It's about what happens when they leave the country the call home to the the hardships they have to experience everyday in order to settle down in a safe place and have a better life. We tried to make this as accurate as possible to what actually happens throughout their journey. We did this in order to spread word on how serious the refugee crisis is,we are hoping this made people get a better understanding of how it feels to be a refugee.
Deciding to make a simulation
At the beginning of the semester when we started learning about refugees we didn't know how we were going to spread word on this refugee crisis, we were giving three options, a play, an exhibition or working with the IRC (International rescue committee). We had many discussions on which one of the three given options were better, the majority of my peers including me wanted to work with the IRC, but those discussions made us realize that a group of 10th graders was not going to be helpful to the IRC and because it was going to be too difficult for various reasons. We decided to make a simulation because people understand the topic better if they experience the life of a refugee.
We were all assigned a article about the journey of a refugee, we had to partner up with someone and make a character sheet about how their journey was like and basically fill in all the requirements for this assignment. The purpose of these character sheets was to make the simulation more realistic, everyone that went through the simulation received one of the character sheets before actually going through it and they had to act as if they were that person, so all their decisions made throughout the simulation had to be based on this background information.
The event sequence was our plan for each person who went through the simulation, all the stations were based on the articles we had read for the character sheets. Each group of partners had to go to the map and use a string and two push pins or more in order to show their journey. Then we made stations for most of the places that refugees go to the most, so every option you had during the simulation and your choices after that one were most likely to be marked in the map.
My favorite Handout.
UNHCR Station Document
We made this document with the purpose of writing down all the critical pieces of research about how UNHCR works and other different topics. In this document all the members in our group had to cooperate with something, I contributed by answering some questions about specific topics and researching about them.
Station Design Document
In this document we explained all the pathways of our station, for examples all the choices as to where you can go after our station, what you do there and also where you can come from. Everyone in my group cooperated with one scenario. I contributed in this document by writing a scenario. I played the character of Scarlett Jones a CNN reporter who was in charge of writing about all the refugee's experience after the simulation.
Play test one
On the first playtest my station was feeling really unprepared due to the fact that we didn't yet understand how this whole thing was going to work, we also needed to do a lot more research on our station in order to understand. We improvised by asking the people that came to our station to say a number from one to ten, if they chose any of the two numbers we had written on our papers they got accepted and could go to the USA or Canada.
For this playtest I would say we knew a little more prepared because we knew where to send people if accepted or rejected and we also knew what to ask them when they came into our station. In this one we also had roles, there were two agents which were the ones in charge of interrogating all the refugees and the ones deciding where to send them, we had one security guard and a secretary which was me.
Single station playtest
In this playtest we only had the opportunity to experience one station and give them feedback once it was over, in my opinion this didn't feel realistic and it was really unfair that not all the stations got the opportunity to get feedback, but I do feel like this made a positive impact on the stations that did go through this.
Playtest Three (with 9th graders)
For this playtest my group changed from UNHCR to the debrief room because we noticed that we were making UNHCR kind of like a country so having people coming into a station like that was unrealistic. Our first day doing this we weren't prepared since we hadn't prepared the list of questions we had to ask people about their experience, but we made sure to work on that after this playtest.
Playtest Four (with 10th graders)
By the time this playtest happened we knew a lot about our station and had pretty much finished, so this playtest came out really good, people were really into character which made everything a lot more realistic. However this was also more difficult because our peers already knew a lot about the refugee crisis so when they came to the debrief room, a lot of people found it unrealistic and other people thought we did a really good job in our simulation.
I feel like not enough people know about the refugee crisis, and the people that do know about it think it's way less serious than it really is. People should know leaving their homes is not the only thing refugees go through, they should be informed about all the dangers they're exposed to every day throughout their journey to find a new home, not only should more people understand this, but we should be more involved in order to make a difference.
For my station the simulation was really successful, most of the people went through the debrief room and they all noticed how much hard work and time we had put into this project. Hearing the perspective of other people on our simulation made me think that more people should be informed about this, anyway we got amazing feedback, everyone thought it was realistic and in my opinion my group did a great job at answering all the questions people had for us, I feel like we were really prepared.