In what could be a world-first, a class of first graders will be exhibiting their design to help refugees at this year’s NYC Design Week.

Among the hottest emerging designs at New York City Design Week next month will be a project made by first graders from Elsinore, a small Danish city just north of Copenhagen.

Students from Byskolen will be exhibiting their innovative design the ‘Welcome Suitcase‘ – a gift for refugee children to help them learn Danish.

The design was initially created for the Design to Improve Life Challenge, a competition held last month part of a large-scale education initiative (Boost – Innovative School in Elsinore) that teaches youth how address real life challenges through design. This Challenge was the first of three and asked almost 7,000 students in the city, aged six to 15, to design solutions to improve local refugee integration.

The winning team identified language as the key tool for inclusion and bonding. Their empathy-driven design is a small suitcase containing handmade games, folding books and puppets for role-play; all made to help refugee children learn the local language in a fun and interactive way.

Although not all of the designers –aged six to eight– can read or write yet, they all helped design the solution to help refugee children live a new and fulfilling life in Denmark. The class recently welcomed a new classmate from Syria, who received the first ‘Welcome Suitcase’ prototype.

The news of the amazing design crossed over the Atlantic last month where Design and Flow – D&F, a strategic design and innovation movement, became so fascinated with it that they asked to include in their exhibition. The class gladly obliged and created a new, special ‘Welcome Suitcase’, which is now on its way to New York City.

A huge thanks to Design and Flow for making this all possible – we can’t wait!

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