Remember your first day at high school? That was legit scary, right? First, you didn’t know anyone – you had to make new friends which is a crazyily daunting task for everyone. Second, the whole environment was new – just navigating the place seemed like an impossible task. Plus, how you wear your backpack and how good you were at sports suddenly seemed really important.
We guess this is how refugees feel when they first arrive in their host country; but they don’t often have family to guide them through and they could be dealing with experiences they encountered before or during their migration. With an initial language barrier, the possibility of facing discrimination and the fact that they have to circumnavigate a whole new society – sometimes with an entirely unfamiliar set of cultural customs, norms and values – it can be easy for refugees to feel socially isolated.
TimePeace is a company that aims to bring likeminded people together. Their upcoming app promises to connect refugees “with locals to meet and share for free skills, passions and interests”; a bit like Muzmatch or Minder – but for finding friends not partners, and without every third person being “a beauty blogger”.
“It’s a chance to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures, each with their own talents to exchange skills based on a time-credit system,” they say on their website. “It builds expertise for all its users, facilitating community cohesion and social integration.”
With Refugee Week (the UK’s largest celebration of the contribution of refugees) this week, it seems like a great time to talk about refugees and how integration can be made easier. TimePeace, who have already delivered a number of events – from footy games, to picnics to wallet making workshops – all designed to connect refugees with people in their community, want to have this conversation every single week.
When their app goes live, we hope that it lives up to expectations because it all sounds kind of awesome. Not only have they scoped an opportunity to have a pop at tackling the social issue of integration, but they are helping refugees learn specific skills that will boost their employability. More of this, please and thank you.