Aaron Wong

The Refugee Fellowship

Health & Wellness

The Refugee Challenge



What Design Can Do (WDCD), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the IKEA Foundation invite designers, creative thinkers and imaginative trouble-shooters from all countries and disciplines, including refugees themselves, to take part and create game-changing ideas for accommodating, connecting, integrating and helping the personal development of refugees. The challenge specifically focuses on refugees in urban areas, as nearly 60 per cent of the world’s 20 million refugees now live in urban areas.

To shape the briefs, extensive desk and field research was done to identify what experts say urgently needs to be addressed, and how these issues relate to what refugees themselves experience. These two perspectives led to important themes: basic needs, health, connection to home, connection to home, mobility, finance, work, education & training, and integration.


Inspired by Venture for America, the Co-Create Fellowship trains and supports refugees and provides reliable workers for the community that host them. In this model, EU businesses sponsor refugee fellows to strengthen their professional skills and, most importantly, integrate them into the community. While waiting for asylum, refugees can apply for training and placement through the fellowship.

Once accepted, refugees begin integrating into the host community and are no longer seen as refugees, but as fellows deemed skilled enough to work. The scheme includes the option of learning to become a community leader and a co-creator of a new culture.


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