The project use role models to inspire, support and engage users in the utilization of the EUFAST training tools.
Real life peer Role models in EUFAST are involved in the following ways:
- Participate to workshops that will take place in all 5 countries to share their experiences with the beneficiaries
- Communicate with the target users in each country to assist them in problems they face
- Inspire the design of the app avatars, so the users to feel familiar when using and interacting with the simulation social stories scenarios.
As mentioned above, role models were used as so as to provide further support to the beneficiaries’ efforts to integrate in their new societies. Migrants and refugees, who have managed to integrate successfully, shared their stories through the scenarios and acted as a “bridge” between the beneficiaries and the new conditions.
Adaptation to the new environment is a very crucial factor for integration. However, and especially in cases where there are important cultural and social differences, it is a complex procedure often creating feelings of isolation, fear and helplessness to the newcomer. Role models can play an important role in their motivation and empowerment, as they can identify with them in regards to their background and experiences. Furthermore role models, as a practical and relatable example of change, can familiarize them with the idea of adaptation and provide them with information and “tools” of how this can be done. On top of that, new comers need to realize that a smooth integration does not depend so much on personal characteristics as it does on acquiring the ability to develop a functional relation with the new society. Through the successful stories of integration, new comers can create a more positive perception of themselves, realizing the potential they can bring into the receiving society as opposed to a self-image of people in need.
In conclusion the added value of the use of role models consists mainly on making clear to the beneficiaries, in a relatable and direct manner, that the main issues they have to address regard the need to change and relate and that this is possible in a mutually beneficial way for both the person and the hosting society. These role models were selected following an interview approach in each country. Several criteria were developed from the consortium for the selection of the most proper ones for the project success.