As part of the Design to Improve Life Challenge in Elsinore, we asked 7,000 students to create solutions to improve local refugee integration. The results were so impressive that the local City Council wants to make them a reality.

When kids are given the opportunity to help address real world problems, they come up with some amazing solutions. Elsinore’s City Council now wants to enlist the help of their youngsters after seeing how well they use design-thinking to tackle local challenges.

Earlier this year, the first Design to Improve Life Challenge in Elsinore, themed ‘People on the run – from refugee to citizen’, asked all students to design solutions to help refugees become accustomed to life in Denmark. Over 7,000 students, aged six to 15, competed in teams, resulting in over 60 impressive submissions. These were then boiled down to just 21 finalist teams who came to compete at the famous Battle event.

After witnessing the vast range of incredible ideas, Elsinore’s decision-makers decided to include some of the finalists’ designs into the municipality’s integration policy. It’s been confirmed that several of the solutions will be implemented, and from today, council members will be in discussion to identify which will be included. Some of the solutions the city could adopt include new Dane/refugee food and sport clubs, apps for locals and new-comers to meet and mingle, or special social events where new citizens can learn about the history of their new home.

This is the second significant accolade the Elsinore challenge has received. This years winning team, a class of first-graders from Byskolen, had their innovative design the ‘Welcome Suitcase’ on exhibition at NY Design Week in May. The aim of the empathy-driven design is to help refugee children learn Danish in a fun and interactive way by gifting them a ‘suitcase’ containing educational games, folding books and handmade puppets for role-play.

The Design to Improve Life Challenge is part of large-scale education initiative Boost – Innovative School in Elsinore, run in collaboration with Elsinore municipality and Metropol University College.

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