Forced out of their homes, losing everything they owned, refugees settled in new countries, not knowing the first thing about life in some of these places. They need to learn new language, new culture while coping with trauma. Refugees settle in the United States receive limited assistance from the federal government for the first 90 days of their arrival. Often times, refugees are forced to learn the essentials of life on their own. People overlook the fact that our daily lives become so ingrained in our heads that it is difficult to understand that moving from Syria and Iraq, having to readjust to life outside of extreme conflict in a completely new country, means starting from scratch.
My research was to identify challenges facing asylum-seeking refugees as a result of our failure as a country to provide them homes and a sense of belonging. Furthermore, the study focuses on finding ways to integrate refugees with the local communities in the US and specifically Washington State.
Through interviews with recently resettled refugee families, local volunteers, case workers, and representatives of the resettlement agencies in the Seattle area I was able to identify the most prominent needs and challenges in the resettlement process and their subsequent integration in the local communities. With this information, I designed a guide book for refugees detailing important information to ease the transition to life in the United States. The book is divided into nine categories t to guide the user through each aspect of their daily lives. The information presented in this guiding book is written in both English and Arabic for new Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Furthermore, the design is presented with little description and focuses more on visuals, so the users will need little to no assistance to understand the book.
Possessing the ability to be modified and evolved based on the needs of the refugees in each specific host region, the book materials were created with the intention of being adaptable. Languages in which the information is presented are meant to be easily interchangeable depending on the location and the region where refugees are settled.
There are some programs already in place to aid refugees’ search for jobs, learn English, register kids for school, or apply for health insurance, etc. However, there is a lot more to be done, especially the essentials of the everyday routine, things that seem to be trivial or common knowledge for citizens such basic transportation, how to convert measurements, and where to shop for what, and much more which this book covers.
This guide book was originally composed to fit Washington State’s region. The maps of local stores, climate, and public transportation are all used in the greater Seattle area. All of these graphics can be restructured using the original template for any city in the United States.
Refugee’s independence will be achieved much faster when they learn how to manage their daily needs. When they learn this basic information, they will feel more confident to engage and be part of the society.