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Red Cross unveils refugee app

Aims to educate Australians about the life-threatening situations faced by refugees
Red Cross unveils refugee app

Humanitarian agency Australian Red Cross has created an app aimed at educating Australians about the difficulties faced by refugees.

The agency’s “And then I was a refugee" app asks users to select a character who is forced to run for his or her life when their village is attacked by rebel forces. The character has to make decisions about whether to join the rebels to stay alive, steal water from a village or accept help from a people smuggler.

The narrative starts in Somalia and travels through Sudan, Libya, Kenya and Malta, showing real scenarios with very real consequences, said Australian Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner.

“This app aims to demystify the refugee experiences and show the reality of the crisis millions of people find themselves in today,” he said.

“App users are faced with some pretty confronting choices as they try to find safety for themselves and their families. All of the scenarios are based on the stories of refugees we have worked with as well as our extensive research.

“We wanted to create an authentic journey to give some insight into the difficulties and dangers refugees face like hunger, dehydration, violence, terror and the endless queues. It’s about building empathy and counteracting some of the intolerance and discrimination out there. It is also about challenging the myth that people somehow choose to become refugees.”

There were around 10.5 million refugees of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the beginning of 2011, down slightly from a year earlier, according to UNHCR data.

The app is available here for Android devices and here for Apple devices. It is aimed at people aged nine and over.

Follow Byron Connolly on Twitter: @ByronConnolly

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