Activities and ideas

Introduction

The following two sections include practical examples of activities, exercises and projects that can be used or adapted in order to achieve social inclusion in two different ways:

  • Understanding social exclusion will help preparing the society to welcome refugees and asylum seekers, not being afraid of the differences and being aware of the facts and myths that exist around migration.
  • Creating opportunities to help refugees and asylum seekers to feel included in the society they live in.

Each of the presented activities is going to be described in detail and their purpose will be explained. It is your own choice whether you will decide to organise them in the same way or modify them so they will be tailored to your target audience and their needs.

Our project team would like to encourage you to get involved and contact us with your feedback, comments and suggestions regarding the activities presented in this section. Also, if there are any other activities which can be used in the training courses with refugees and young people with migration backgrounds and you know they are worth recommending then we would also ask you to contact our PAPYRUS Team and share your ideas with us.

In this section of the Toolkit you will find exercises aimed at tackling exclusion factors. The activities included in this section are aiming to increase the inclusion potential of the receiving society.

The activities can be used within the context of workshops or training courses involving participants with different backgrounds. Ideally, they will be performed with mixed groups (members of the host society and refugees/asylum seekers), thus providing participants an opportunity to interact with and learn from each other.

The activities require that participants have a good understanding of the language in which they are conducted, thus it is recommended that you know the group before performing them and that you can provide some translation in case needed. Some of the activities require also the ability to read and understand information, make sure that all the participants are comfortable with this.

 

Type of exercises proposed

Energizers: are used to raise energy among the participants, to set the mood or create an atmosphere, and wake people up before an activity. They can also be used to introduce a topic in an easy and informal way.

Evaluation: the action in which one collects information about the results of an activity and sets this against predetermined criteria in order to judge the value of the results. The evaluation allows the facilitator to maintain, change or discard points and/or activities from the plan.

Ice-breakers: are intended to help a group to begin the process of forming themselves into a team. Ice-breakers are commonly presented as a game to “warm up” the group by helping the members to get to know each other.

Group discussion: can be good to let the participants speak their mind, but also to make the participants think about the “issue” in a different way and from another point of view.

Simulation games: are a very powerful means of working with young people, especially in an intercultural perspective, to confront and address prejudices and stereotypes of other cultures.

Introduction exercise

 Type: Ice-breaker

Purpose: This ice-breaker will allow participants to better know each other. The facilitator can easily adapt the questions in order for the participants to start discussing a specific topic that will be tackled afterwards. Participants will also be able to share their feelings and expectations about the session.

 

Group size

Any size

Time

10 to 20 minutes (duration varies according to the size of the group and the amount of information shared)

Resources needed

Any device able to produce music; speakers

Description of the activity

Participants stand on different sides around an empty space. As the music begins, they start walking freely. As the music stops, they choose a partner. The pairs are asked to discuss the topic the instructor announces when stopping the music. As the music starts again, participants begin to walk again until stopping and finding a new partner with whom to discuss the next topic.

Reflection

Some suggested topics might be:

  • What did I do last night?
  • What will I do this weekend?
  • What kind of home do I have?
  • What kind of family do I have?
  • What do I like in the country we are now?
  • What do I dislike in the country we are now?
  • What is important to me in life?

Through the short discussions, participants will be able to meet the others and get to know each other, but also to start identifying differences and similarities in the group. Thus, they will start removing some barriers to the inclusion of all the group members.

Comments and useful tips

The exercise can also be carried out by keeping the same topic all the time, changing only the pairs.

 

Where do I come from and where am I now?

Type: Simulation game

Purpose: This exercise helps understand the journeys the different members have made to their current hometowns and allows the group members to share information on their backgrounds.

 

Group size

Ideally between 4 and 15, in case of bigger groups might be good to consider creating two groups.

Time

50 to 60 minutes (duration varies according to the size of the group and the amount of information shared)

Resources needed

World map and map of the country you are in, pins, thick thread, coloured papers, markers/pens

Description of the activity

Group members are asked to write down all continents in capital letters, one A4 sheet per continent, and to try to place the papers with the continents’ names on the floor in order according to their position on the world map.

Home country

Each participant is asked to stand on top of the continent from which they come. Participants take turns to name their home country and possibly the city/town/village they used to live in. They also state what they think is wonderful about their home country and/or city/town/village. 

At this point, the facilitator shows the world map. Participants locate their own continents and countries and see which other countries are located on the same continent.

Own journey

Each group member takes pins and thread and recreates their own migratory route on the world map to the country they are in and to the city/town/village in which they are currently residing. Participants may point several venues/stops through which their route has run.

Reflection

Besides being able to share some information about their personal story, participants will reflect on the different journeys. At the end of the exercise, the facilitator is encouraged to start a discussion about what the different participants felt during their journeys and what they liked/disliked about some of the stages of the journey. If the context allows, the facilitators might also ask whether someone wants to share some difficulties they have faced during the journey and/or about some pleasant things they discovered.

Comments and useful tips

Writing up on a blackboard the key features of each and everyone’s journey, so that there is a visual aid to keep recalling the information

Analysing Prejudice

Type: Group discussion

Purpose: Analyse the feeling caused by exclusion through the examination of inclusive and exclusive behaviours and the dynamics of exclusion.

 

Group size

Minimum of 6 people

Time

30 minutes

Resources needed

Flipcharts and markers for the discussion

Description of the activity

  • Ask a group of volunteers to leave the room, divide the rest of the group in small groups, one for each of the volunteer outside the room; i.e., in the room, you will need a minimum of 6 people, who will then form 2 group (numbers change depending on the amount of volunteers who left the room) of 2 people, each.
  • The small groups are instructed to start discussion and keep the volunteers out if it, they can use any strategy they want, of course with the exception of physical violence.
  • The volunteers are instructed to come back in the room and try to enter into the small groups and join the discussions.
  • The trainers observe what is going on in the groups for maximum 5-10 minutes (if tension grows too much, then stop the activity).

Reflection

Taking notes on flipchart paper, discuss about the strategies used by the excluded persons to be accepted, the strategies used by the excluders to keep the volunteers out, and how people felt as excluded/excluders. Discuss also the effect of exclusion on a long term, at personal, group and society level.

Comments and useful tips

When taking notes, focus on the following aspects:

  • What you did
  • What you could have done better
  • Action plan if this ever happens again

This would highlight and help remembering the positive strategies

 

(Ine)Quality Street

 

Type: Simulation game 

Purpose: Through role play, participants will be able to experience another social reality. This might be a privileged one or rather an excluded one, allowing for reflection on inequality, social exclusion, stereotyping, stigma, etc. 

Questions for the facilitator → download

Role cards → download

 

Group size Any size
Time 45 minutes
Resources needed

Role cards and questions for the facilitator (ATTACHED); sweets (10 per person).

Optional: chairs, flipcharts, small box/tin for sweets and markers or paper and pens

Description of the activity
  • Ask participants to sit in a circle (with or without chairs).
  • Each participant is then given a role card – this card describes a person who the participant has to play (pretend to be) during the activity. The facilitator should make sure all participants understand the information given on their role card.
  • At the beginning of the game, each participant is given 5 sweets. Then the rules are explained: participants are told that they will be asked a series of questions – if they can answer “yes” to a question they can collect a sweet (from a box/tin/pile at the centre of the room), if they must answer “no”, they should return one sweet to the central pool. The trainer should read each question twice and make sure everyone understands. If participants are uncertain about an answer, encourage them to imagine themselves as that person and take a decision, accordingly.
  • As participants are playing the role of someone else, they have to make some decisions (in answering the questions) about the person using their own life experience and imagination.
  • As participants collect sweets, they shall be asked to pile them visibly up in front of them – for everyone to see.
  • If a participant runs out of sweets, they must make a visible sign that they are “out” – perhaps raise their arm or stand up – whatever feels appropriate with the group.
  • The trainer should read each question twice and make sure everyone understands. If participants are uncertain about an answer, encourage them to imagine themselves as that person and make a decision accordingly.
  • When a participant runs out of sweets, the trainer may choose to “expose” that person (more or less depending on how dramatically you want to convey the fact of “exclusion” – e.g., tell the participant to keep their arm raised constantly).
  • At the end of the questions, ask participants to count their sweets. It is very apparent that some participants have far more sweets than others.
Reflection
  • Ask participants to describe very briefly their feelings (in plenary).
  • Now break into small groups (not more than 6 persons per group).
  • Ask each participant to introduce themselves (in their “role”) to discuss one (or more) of the questions below:
  1. How did you feel in this role?
  2. Did you feel privileged or excluded?
  3. (For those who ran out of sweets) Did you feel “stigmatised”?
  4. Did the activity reflect real life in your opinion?
  5. Did the activity highlight differences and inequalities in society more than you had expected?
  6. Was the role you played one you found easy (because you could identify with it or know someone similar) or difficult?
  7. If difficult, why and how did you make your decisions – where did your “information” come from?
  8. Did you make decisions based on “stereotype”?
  9. Would you change any decisions if asked the question again?
  10. Did you feel sorry for yourself, in your role – did you see yourself as a “victim”?
  11. Do you work with anyone (young person) similar to the role you had to play – how do you feel about that person in “real life”?
  • Report the outcomes of the discussion in small groups and evaluate the overall experience.
Comments and useful tips
  • It might be interesting to make sure each person plays the role of a person of the opposite gender.
  • Tell participants to think of a name for themselves once they have read their “role” card.

Outsiders

 

Type: Energizer

Purpose: An interactive exercise exploring the effects of exclusive grouping on an individual, exploring how we react to experiences of rejection and looking at what it feels like to belong to a group.

 

Group size

Any size

Time

10 minutes

Resources needed

No resources needed

Description of the activity

  • Ask a volunteer to leave the room. The remainder of the group divide themselves into groups according to some agreed criterion, e.g. hairstyle, eye colour, type of clothing, height or accent.
  • The outsider is called in and guesses which group they belong to. They must state why they believe that group is their group. If the reason is wrong they may not join, even when they picked the correct group.
  • Continue with a new volunteer, giving as many participants as possible an opportunity to go outside, subject to time.

Reflection

  • How do we behave when we do belong to a group?
  • Is it easy to reject outsiders? Is it enjoyable?
  • Do we empathise with the outsider or do we enjoy the power?

 

Knowledge is Power

Adapted from: http://www.youth.ie/sites/youth.ie/files/NYCI-Global-Rights-Resource.pdf

Type: Group discussion

Purpose: This activity gives the group an interactive way of discovering some of the facts about refugees and migrants whilst also dispelling some of the myths. It is hoped that this new knowledge and awareness will represent a positive development for individuals in the group.

Cards → download

 

Group size Any size
Time 20 minutes
Resources needed Copies of the myths/facts sheet
Description of the activity
  • Mix up the cards with different myths and facts and hand them out to the group.
  • Invite participants to read for themselves their cards and then think about whether it is a myth or a fact.
  • Inform the participants that each myth card has a corresponding fact card and challenge them to find the person with the card connected to their own through one-to-one or small group discussions. Invite them to move around the room.
  • When all are done or enough time has passed, ask participants to read out their myths and facts. There may be a need to correct some mismatches but overall it is important to be clear about which statements are myths and which are facts.
Reflection Open a discussion about where the myths come from and what impact they have on the way we treat people.

Should I stay or should I go?

Adapted from: http://www.youth.ie/sites/youth.ie/files/NYCI-Global-Rights-Resource.pdf

Type: Energizer

Purpose: Through the simulation of a decision making process on the choice to stay or go, participants will recognise that choices and decisions can depend on different realities. Moreover, they will understand that it’s not an easy decision to leave one’s home, family, friends, job, club, school, etc.

Statements → download

 

Group size Any size
Time 25 minutes
Resources needed Paper; markers; copy of statements for the facilitator
Description of the activity
  • Clear the room enough to give space for an activity that requires movement of the whole group to one side or the other.
  • Inform the group that they will hear statements and that they will respond to the statement by moving to the side of the room that represents STAY or the side of the room that represents LEAVE. You can write these words on a piece of paper and stick it to the wall at each side for a visual aid if necessary. Be clear to the group that there is no middle ground, they must choose!
  • Read the statements out loud and ask the participants to think carefully about the choice.
Reflection While participants move to one side or the other of the room, ask them why they are making that choice and if it was easy or difficult to make it.

Pictures Challenge

Type: Energizer/Ice-breaker

Purpose: All of us have some stereotypes about some places/populations in the world. This exercise has the aim of reflect about them and challenge them.

Examples of pictures → download

Group size Any size
Time 10 minutes
Resources needed Laptop and projector or printouts of pictures of cities or places.
Description of the activity

The activity is quite simple: the facilitator shows the pictures and asks the participants to guess what country is it.

However, the pictures shown shall not be easy to guess: famous skylines and monuments shall be avoided, while unusual landscapes shall be preferred. An advice might also be to choose countries that are not really well known, in order for participants to understand that stereotypes are not limited to specific countries and people, but rather to wider areas.

Reflection The game can be used to introduce a discussion about stereotypes and how they influence our opinion about places and people.

Respectful Listening

Type: Evaluation

Purpose: This short exercise allows participants to discuss in pairs the outcomes of the overall session. It is also a good exercise to train listening skills and empathy.

 

Group size

Any size

Time

10 minutes

Resources needed

Paper and pens

Description of the activity

Group members are divided into pairs, each pair consisting of one native and one migrant.

One member of the pair is asked to share with their partner their opinion about the session. In order to make it easier for the individual to share, the facilitator might suggest to focus on:

  • What s/he liked
  • What s/he disliked
  • What s/he learnt
  • What s/he proposes

The person who is not invited to speak will be silent and will be asked to listen carefully and take notes about what the partner says.

After 3-4 minutes the roles are exchanged.

At the end, each person will present some on her/his partner’s comments, which will be noted down by the facilitator.

Reflection

Besides evaluating the session, participants will be able to train their listening skills. They will also be able to reflect on the different points of views and mindsets and how they can be different from one’s own.