#Do1Thing: Indiana State University Students Learn to ‘Walk a Mile’ in the Shoes of a Refugee

13 January 2019

Terre Haute, IN – Center for Global Engagement at Indiana State University is providing an opportunity for students to “Walk a Mile” in the shoes of refugees.

As the sun rises on hundreds of makeshift camps around the world, more than 65 million refugees and internally displaced persons start their day seeking water, food and shelter for their families. More than half of the refugees are children.

Jesuit Refugee Service program helps students understand refugee crisis and advocate on their behalf. Students at Indiana State will walk a few steps in the shoes of refugees on April 10 when they take part in a refugee camp simulation known as “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.”

As students enter the simulation, they receive an identity card with the name, country of origin and background of a typical refugee. Throughout the simulation, the students assume the role of that refugee. The students, as refugees, then move from a border station to a water station to a food station and a housing station. At each station, they may encounter the frustration and hardships that refugees face daily. The final part of the simulation gives time for students to reflect on the experience and consider ways to advocate for refugee justice.

“The students are moved by the experience, and they need to reflect about the experience as they finish the simulation,” said Zachariah Mathew, associate director of Center for Global Engagement.

This experience is an opportunity for students to leave their comfort zones and think about the struggle refugees face daily, Mathew added. College students are genuinely concerned about the plight of refugees and want to find ways to reach out to them. An important part of the simulation is pointing out ways students can advocate on behalf of refugees and displaced persons.

The advocacy station at the end of the exercise helps students to learn more about refugees and gives them some action steps to help address this worldwide crisis, including joining the Jesuit Refugee Service Action Network and participating in many of its advocacy programs.

Want to host your own refugee experience? Take a look at our materials here and download the “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” refugees simulation to begin today.

This news story was originally featured on Indiana State University’s Center for Global Engagement website .