MUFID: Plastic circular economy in refugee camps ATHENS, GREECE

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Can we develop the next generation of innovators, technologists and creatives by empowering refugees?

Our project develops future-oriented skillsets with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education for refugees. By advocating plastic upcycling through the desktop toolkit, refugees are able to produce useful 3D-printed architecture and construction materials from plastic waste to improve their living environments. We inspire, educate and empower refugee communities to be innovators of their lives and their environment. We achieve this by building their capacity in life-shaping skills for the 21st Century and beyond. Using action-based learning and participatory planning, refugees become partners and educators towards their own creative knowledge. The project assists in integration and employment opportunities though social innovation, economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and digital literacy.

CATEGORY: Professional SETTING: Urban STATUS: On-going

BY: HY William Chan - UN SDSN Youth - Local Pathways Fellow

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: With our experiences working with refugee youth in both a camp and urban context, we realised the importance of engagement with the beneficiaries. In order to develop an environment where participants feel respected and equal, we wanted to test our approaches to inclusion and integration with the host community. Firstly, as a participatory design process, we included refugee students as team members for the pilot so that their needs and views were incorporated into the pilot workshops. During the week, before the workshop we developed a genuine rapport with the two students so that we could include their ideas and thoughts collectively in our prototype development. We worked together in the faculty sessions and shared conversations over lunch. Our discussions resulted in us looking at incorporating local students into the workshops so that it was not specifically to address refugee needs but for all youth so that they could come together and learn as peers. We invited local Greek teenagers and encouraged interaction and collaboration between the populations. Moving forward, it is important to further evaluate the approach and to formalise integration through including local students and mentors by working with the our education partners on the ground.

PARTNERS: Qatar Foundation, innovation and funding partner; UNICEF Australia, children's rights and development partner; Astrolab, architecture and technology partner; Project Elea, refugee camp partner; American Community Schools of Athens, education and curriculum partner.



VIDEO: Refugees as architects of their city and future