#OneMoreThing: Shining a bright light on refugees at Do It Day NYC

#OneMoreThing: Shining a bright light on refugees at Do It Day NYC

Do It Day tackled some of the most important issues of the day — and one doesn’t have to look far to see and understand that the refugee crisis is one that demands action. To that end, Amnesty International tasked Do It Day teams both in London and New York to come up with ideas that would allow refugees to be seen in a much more positive light.

Two solid ideas emerged — one from the UK and the other from the US — both looking especially relevant in light of the recent US Presidential election results and the president-elect’s past rhetoric. The UK’s #IWelcome even managed to make its way across the Atlantic and took a prominent position on the famed screens of Times Square.

The winning US idea, #OneMoreThing, revolved around one of the scarier, yet very real aspects that refugees face: fleeing in the moment and only being able to grab few possessions – making the crushing decision on what to take and what to leave behind.

The team of Grecia Malavé, account executive at The Partners, and Charlie Wade, US business development manager of Asos, came together in New York City to form even more ideas to amplify the concept, developing ways to spark thought and empathy about how refugees are forced from their homes with nearly nothing. The two were encouraged because their idea yielded such great results even before Do It Day, when the brief was spread to the One Minute Brief community earlier in the month.

“The sheer quantity of people who responded — and responded in the manner of what we were thinking shows how good [the concept] is, shows how easy it is to grasp, as well,” notes Wade on the acceptance of their concept. “It's always interesting to see that if someone can get Twitter without the background and come to some sort of conclusion that we did after a whole day, then it obviously resonates.”

Taking it one step further at Do It Day, the US team of two developed ideas around three core values: empathy, humanization of the refugee story and utilization of their talents.

The first, empathy, put people in the uncomfortable situation of thinking about what they would take if they had only five minutes to flee New York City. Synching this concept with real stories of what refugees and their families took in their final moments when they had to is an interesting counterweight to the general population’s relative privilege.

Humanization, interestingly, went into to a charitable form of e-commerce, where individuals could buy items actually left behind by refugees — those things that they may have wished they could have taken along. These items, in their example, ranged from stuffed animals to electronics (like phones) and more.

“When you're a refugee, you're forced to leave your home country quickly and you really don't have the space or the time to gather the things that you really want to take with you,” says Malavé.

Finally, utilization was a compelling concept and proved to be one that added a legacy component. In short, the concept revolves around taking advantage of the talents and gifts of refugees when they enter a new country or society.

The theoretical example used was a Syrian surgeon from Aleppo — who clearly would have much to offer, but may have trouble getting connected with employers. In this scenario, technology would help match the doctor with employers — specifically leveraging APIs such as LinkedIn to make the right connection. Much like last year’s Do It Day project with Mashable, which matched charitable organizations to professionals seeking volunteer opportunities, the idea of leveraging skills is enticing and ticks several positive boxes.

Each component addressed key issues facing the whole of the refugee population. When combined and adding more time and resources, their approach feels like strong starting point for future action, all wrapped in the moniker of #OneMoreThing.

“I feel like it's an idea sustainable and it has opportunity to grow,” says Wade. “It has an opportunity for constant engagement. I don't think it's an idea that has a time limit or expiration date. So that itself helps this whole campaign concept continue. People becoming refugees is not going to go away, and so the concept of what people leave, willingly or not, is not going to go away either, sadly and not in the foreseeable future anyway. So, it feels like it's a pretty easy human story to keep evolving.”

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