Helping Refugees Adapt: Intercultural Training for Refugees in Brazil

I recently finished working on an interesting project to adapt a training tool for those who work with refugees, and I’m excited to share it.  

I am a member of SIETAR USA, the Society for Intercultural Educators, Trainers, and Researchers.  Through my involvement with this organization, I learned about the important work SIETAR Brasil has been involved in with refugees for the past several years. I volunteered to help out. As a result, I had the amazing opportunity to work with them in creating a training tool available for their use.

To celebrate the lau_mg_0186nch of our project, I had a conversation with Mariana de Oliveira Barros of Differänce Intercultural and president of SIETAR Brasil. We made a short video of our conversation. In the recording, Mariana explains more about the plight of the refugees, and we discuss the work we did. At the end, we talk about what you can do to help.

Watch our video below, or keep reading to learn more. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see more pictures of the tool and to learn how you can get involved.

About our project:

In the past several years, Brazil has accepted a large number of refugees. Most of them originally came from Haiti, and now a large number are also entering Brazil from Angola and other African countries. Brazil faces a massive challenge in caring for, settling, and integrating these refugees into their society. SIETAR Brasil provides intercultural training to prepare the refugees to adapt to their situation and help them understand Brazilian culture and society. All of this is done with the goal of readying them to work in the country.

Initially, SIETAR Brasil mostly focused on providing training for the refugees themselves. However,  the need for the training became so great that there is now a need for additional trainers. At this time, SIETAR Brasil is partnering with other nonprofits and NGOs to increase the scope of the work. This means that SIETAR Brasil must train the new trainers to work effectively with the refugees.

To accomplish that end, SIETAR Brasil chose to use a tool that was developed by Caritas France. This tool is an immersive experience that helps create greater understanding about the realities refugees face every day. Participants take on the role of a refugee character and follow along the pathway of that person. They play out their story; they experience their losses, hardships, frustrations, and setbacks.

All of the stories used in the game are real. Caritas France interviewed individual refugees and used their stories to create the game. This makes the experience very intense and very accurate. Every part of the world is represented in the simulation.

Our team translated this tool into Portuguese and then created a beautiful design for the components, including game boards and playing cards.

Now, I want to spread the word about the important work they are doing and encourage others to help out, too.

There are three ways you can help: 

Here are some more photos of our adapted version of the tool being experienced for the first time ever:

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SIETAR is an international organization that unites intercultural trainers and others in similar fields to share knowledge, research, and work. To find out more information about SIETAR USA, click here. To learn more about SIETAR Brasil, click here.

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