Supporting the integration of refugees into a new community

Ref-Assist is brought to you by...

Ambika, Aaliyah, Maria, Sophia and Jia, aged 13 from Woodford County High School for Girls in London, England.

Tell us more!

What is your product and who is it for?

We developed Ref-Assist to help immigrants, refugees and others new to an area and locality adapt to the culture, norms, regulations and language in a new setting and develop a sense of community with the assistance of local charities alongside other support systems.

What inspired your idea, and why is it important to you?

From the start, we aspired to help people understand others and themselves, emotionally, socially and otherwise, because it’s something that we as a society aren’t very good at. We looked at various global dilemmas and fell upon the refugee crisis. Some of us have family or friends who have had to flee their countries of origin and try to fit into new communities with little support to the result of stress and anxiety, and we felt that preventing as many people from feeling this way going forward was just one thing we could do for these people who have already sacrificed a lot. Moreover, we felt that this was one of the most fitting avenues through which to channel our original idea. People can learn to understand their community and themself, no matter your position - whether you’re a refugee, charity or someone looking to provide your aid where possible.

How does your product solve the problem?

The goal of Ref-Assist is to help refugees settle into new communities, and through our research we came to understand that there are multiple aspects to this that we need to be incorporating via different mediums. Some of the mediums we’ve included are maps and messaging channels. These differences and the overall versatility of our app - aiming to eventually expand to as many languages as possible and exploring every corner of troubles as a refugee - will ultimately at least help with struggles as a refugee, and every circumstance is different - we seek to accommodate that. Also, charities and individuals who wish to provide assistance (electronically/physically) also have easy and secure access to forms of education and can seek to widen their perspective going into using Ref-Assist.

How does it work?

Ref-Assist intends to use user data to provide the user with courses and other information that is especially useful for them. This can be disabled at any time if a user wishes. We intend to implement high security systems to check the validity of a user’s identity before using features like the chat rooms - potentially with ID or a phone number. After signing in, the world is your oyster. Learn about the language, culture, norms and laws, utilising methods proven to work or interact with others. Find nonprofits near you or further information concerning legality.

What is the biggest challenge you faced when creating your app?

The biggest challenge we faced was trying to navigate the individuality of every refugee’s experience - different ages, backgrounds, reasons for being where they are. We will attempt to expand our languages and areas covered by the map, and this means prioritising user interaction and feedback. The users are constantly at the core of our app.

Vote for Ref-Assist!

Why should your product be the Judge's Favourite and why should people vote for you in the People’s Choice Award?

We completely believe that this project has the potential to change lives and lay the foundations for an individual to prosper in a new country, and to allow charities and others who wish to provide their assistance to develop themselves and their community.

Cast your vote now

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The Community Champions category is supported by

Kingston Technology