‘A Day in the Life of a Refugee’ at the World Economic Forum, 2019
“I think it is very important for us to bring the simulation to Davos, for participants to spend even 45 minutes in our shoes, because people like us often feel the world forgets us. They make policy and other decisions at their level, not ours. They don’t know what life is like on the ground.’ David Livingston Okello. Former child soldier/IDP
Our IDP and refugee colleagues, together with aid workers, again brought this programme to Davos in January 2019. This storyline, developed by refugees, IDPs and aid workers, sought to capture those issues they considered most crucial:
- Forced displacement when home is no longer safe.
- Disempowerment when one’s future is in others’ hands.
- Inability to connect with loved ones when communication is severed.
- Insufficient resource to provide proper health care, education, food, shelter, infrastructure.
- Deepened suffering when human rights are not protected.
- Vulnerability to corruption, abuse and trafficking.
- Mental agony living with past horrors: depression, trauma, PTSD.
- Depth of longing for asylum status, right of abode and right to work.
This 75-minute simulation compresses time. The ‘journey’ taken during it may, in reality, be weeks, months or much more.
All cast and crew are volunteers and themselves refugees, IDPs or people working in the humanitarian space. All participate because they long to see deepened empathy for refugees and, with that, strategic solutions found for today’s displacement challenge: one unprecedented in scale.
“We need to fight to make this world safe for its refugees and IDPs.” Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2005-2015, Secretary-General for the United Nations, undertaking the refugee simulation.