Nafee Kurdi, an enterprising Syrian youth, moderated the first re:boot workshop, all in arabic. His involvement also made it a good opportunity to test the idea of ‘role models’ and gauge its potential in inspiring participants.
The target group that I wanted at this workshop were the ‘culturally resistant’ and the ‘rural open-minded’ archetypes, because I believe this workshop toolkit would specifically help these groups. In order to inform them, Nafee and I visited shelters, handed personal invites and also circulated a WhatsApp invite amongst the refugee circle. Having a Syrian conversing with the individuals at the shelters clearly inspired a lot more trust and interest. Ultimately on workshop day we had 12 participants, and so it began.
The outcome of the workshop, positive as it was, went down some unexpected routes as well.
For example, the initial drawing activities triggered sensitive, sometimes traumatic memories, so the emotions were running high right from the start. The future mapping activities ( defining aspirations and interests ) triggered a lot of conversations as expected, and I found it essential for the moderator to constantly engage with the participants, which made it overwhelming for him at times. But it also confirmed the fact that the participants seemed to be inspired by him and were eager to hear his opinion.
The manual approach of handing out ‘initiative lists’ was something I had implemented only because the automated data collection mechanism wasn’t in place, but interestingly, it turned out to be very effective. The human touch of this interaction, led to conversations, which helped them connect the dots between their future maps and the programmes that we were suggesting.
Insights and further development
The Initiative List
The idea of handing out an ‘initiative list' with programmes hand-picked by the re:boot team, is a powerful way to make that ‘human contact’ and therefore, a lasting impact.
Smaller workshop groups of 6-8 people would allow the moderator and 2nd volunteer to engage more deeply with the participants.
The 'role model’ figure inspires the participants without a doubt, and should preferably be the moderator of all re:boot workshops.
In terms of further development, this website is the first step towards that. I believe this toolkit can be useful to get a deeper insight into people’s needs and guide them accordingly. I urge the workers in the shelters, initiative volunteers etc to download, use, iterate this toolkit, and in a way, start personalizing these integration efforts.