‘My Life as a Refugee’ — Would You Play?

So, presumably in ‘honor’ of World Refugee Day, the UNHCR decided to bring awareness to this critical issue in a new way — through a game. The downloadable app, ‘My Life as a Refugee’prompts users with questions (situations) that would mimic those faced by refugees in the real world. The goal: to survive difficult situations through answering correctly, then ultimately, you must reach safety and be reunited with family and loved ones. As you can see (above), it’s available now on Android and coming soon to the App Store for all of you anxious iPhone users.

Okay, guys… I know I’m not the first one here to take note and say something, but really?! You made a game out of this? And the tagline — Could You Survive? Does that not come off as maybe a little insensitive? Now, if it were coming from a gaming company, I would probably think it was slightly offensive, but with the Grand Theft Autos of the world, I don’t know that sensitivity is always #1 in the minds of gaming engineers. The UNHCR, however, was created to protect the rights of refugees and works as an advocate.


I understand where they’re coming from. People are always connected, and social media, mobile apps and gamification are great ways to reach a given target audience. Perhaps allowing people to recognize some of the real life situations that these individuals regularly face will help raise awareness. I’ll be honest though, I don’t know that making a refugee situation into a game is the best way to raise awareness in a way that generates a positive outcome, though. Clearly trying to capture issues faced by refugees in the form of a game is going to fall short, but is it worth a shot?

What are your guys’ thoughts? Has anyone downloaded this app yet? Smart move on the UN’s part or insensitive?

Gonna download this app now and see what it’s all about!

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.