E-game "TAXIDIFYGIS" 2007 - on going

A game about how it feels to be a refugee, was adapted in Greek in 2007 by the UNHCR Representation in Cyprus. Initially created by UNHCR Stockholm in 2005, it was subsequently adapted into many languages.Thanks to its popularity among the public, it won the award "Austrian Multimedia" and the "E-business State Prize".

Taxidi fygis is about the fear that every refugee experiences, the unavailability of any other option than fleeing and the challenges that any refugee faces in the new country. The game targets primarily young students of secondary education (13-18 years old), but the experience in the other countries shows that it has been well received by teachers, parents and the media. Its objective is to promote understanding for the refugee plight and empathy towards refugees through playing the role of the refugee. The game has three main parts: the actual game, a factual library and a teacher’s guide.

1. The playable game takes players through the trauma of fleeing persecution, seeking asylum and finally integrating in the new place of residence. Finding themselves in different scenarios, players must overcome obstacles in leaving their homes in search of safety and assistance. In exile, they must struggle to cope with the culture of a foreign land, with the difficulties of starting a new school, not knowing the language and having to make new friends. Players also experience what refugees go through when facing discrimination on the streets, applying for a job and generally trying to start a new life.

2. The factual library is a collection of diverse content (text, videos, pictures) explaining all aspects arising in the course of the game. It can be accessed from every stage of the game, giving more detailed information on particular aspects of the refugee experience players go through. A variety of issues are covered, in addition to refugee and asylum matters related aspects as Human Rights, discrimination, stereotypes and multiculturalism are discussed. Some material refers particularly to the Cypriot reality concerning asylum - e.g. the article explaining the asylum process in Cyprus. The player has constantly access to the factual library while playing either in order to find the right solution or to expand his knowledge in the covered issues.

3. The third part comprises a teacher’s guide complete with a range of exercises such as group discussions and role plays corresponding to each part of the game. It gives further background information and encourages youth to continue independent exploring with the aim of building up knowledge and sensitivities on refugee issues and Human Rights.

The translation of the game in Greek was presented for the first time in an event during the World Refugee Day 2007 (20th June).

From 2007 until end of 2008 UNHCR Representation in Cyprus in cooperation with the Ministry of Education conducted workshops in 60 secondary public schools where students had the opportunity to play the game in their classes with UNHCR staff and to discuss about refugee, asylum and immigration issues. ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/unhcr-cyprus/collections/72157609330323832/ ).

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