What’s the best way to integrate refugees? Ask the youth of Elsinore! What an incredible day of design to improve life: 21 teams came to compete, nine finalist projects were chosen, and only three winners emerged. Congratulations to Byskolen who took out the top prize!

Today at Elsinore Gymnasium we welcomed over 250 participants including students, educators, jury members and guests for this year’s battle event of Elsinore’s Design to Improve Life Challenge.

In January, almost 7,000 students throughout Elsinore designed solutions to improve refugee integration in Denmark. We received almost 60 submissions that were then boiled down by our expert jury panel to just 21 finalists – the competitors for today’s battle.

Hosted by television presenter Camilla Ottesen, the afternoon was filled with inspiring presentations and dozens of amazing projects. It was clear that students not only had a great understanding of the practical elements of good integration, but also the social aspects, which can make a huge difference to the health and happiness of new-comers. The solutions ranged from pragmatic designs such as aids to learn Danish and create jobs, to more festive ideas such as dinner clubs and friendship apps.

“It fills me with great optimism that these young minds are so engaged, so solution-oriented and generally excited by the challenge,” said Lotte Stenlev, Director of Design to Improve Life Education.

“I feel assured that there are some great future leaders in the room.”

After an open exhibition where participants had a chance to browse the vast range of designs, the jury then selected the nine top projects. In a final bid for the grand prize, each finalist team then took the stage to present four-minute pitches to the audience.

With such a high standard of projects it was a difficult decision for the jury and people’s choice voters. But at the end of the day, Deputy Mayor of Elsinore Ib Kirkegaard announced the three winners:

  • Elsinore’s Design to Improve Life Challenge Winners (Prize – DKK 5,000): “Velkomstkufferten” (Welcome Suitcase) by Byskolen. A suitcase full of fun and creative aids – such as games, folding books and puppets for role play – to help refugee children learn Danish
  • The People’s Choice Award (Prize – DKK 5,000): “Årets traditioner” (Year Traditions) by Tibberupskolen. Informational games and ‘smart boards’ to help both refugee adults and children learn about Danish traditions
  • The Cooperation Award (Prize – DKK 5,000): “Friends” by Hornbæk Skole. An app for refugees that crowdsources Danes who can offer friendship or other forms of help with settlement

“We have chosen the suitcase because it’s a very simple solution to a big challenge,” said Ib Kirkegaard, who awarded the prize.

“The suitcase is a project that can be started immediately, and it can be used by anyone.”

“It’s fantastic – we did not expect to win,” said one of the children from Byskolen. “It’s been really fun to be participate, and our teachers are so proud that they’re about to split in half!”

Congratulations to our winners and all participating teams! Make sure to browse through our Instagram for photos taken throughout the day, and we’ll be posting more on the web tomorrow.

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