ACTIVITY 2: APPLYING FOR ASYLUM
Overview: Simulates some of the emotional factors in a refugee's reality.
Time: About 15 minutes.
Materials: Handout "Asylum Application" in Creole.
1. Let the room fill with people without greeting anyone or acknowledging their presence.
2. A few minutes after the scheduled start, pass the application for asylum written in Creole. Say only "You have five minutes to complete this form." This could be spoken in any foreign language as well. Coldly ignore questions and protests.
3. Greet any latecomers curtly (e.g., "Is there any reason you are late? You have only ____ minutes to complete this form."). Most participants will get the point right away, but some may get angry or anxious.
4. Collect the forms without smiling or making personal contact.
5. Call a name from the completed forms and asked that person to come forward. Look at the form and say, "I see you answered no to this question. Asylum denied." Repeat this process several times.
6. Finally break out of your role. Ask participants how they felt filling out an unintelligible form. Ask them how this simulates a refugee's experience.
Source: David Donahue and Nancy Flowers, The Uprooted: sHunter House Publishers, 1995) 18.