Pokémon Go in the Calais Jungle

an article

Over the past year, two of our rehabbers, Aryven Arasen and Joe Watson, have been involved with a refugee charity called The Worldwide Tribe. Their latest project involves the refugees in the Calais camp coming together to play Pokémon. Here’s their story.

When we began working at +rehabstudio, last September, our friend Jaz wrote a post on her Instagram (The Worldwide Tribe) about the refugee camp in Calais after experiencing what the conditions were like first hand. What came next is something no-one expected. Jaz woke up with over 60,000 likes on her post, realising not only that her thoughts had gone viral - but that these people were all on her side. Everyone was excited at the reaction her post received and we all wanted to help spread the word as much as we could.

The months that followed were organised chaos. Donations came flooding in and houses were packed with clothes that had been driven to us from all over the UK. Before long we needed warehouses full of volunteers to manage all the contributions.

Almost a year on, and the charity is bigger than ever. Jaz has spoken at the UN headquarters and done a TED talk about the refugee crisis. Other members of the team have headed out to Lesbos where they help refugees get off the boats after crossing the mediterranean passage and there’s a constant battle to stop the destruction of even more of the camps.

As we can’t get down to Calais on weekdays to volunteer because we work, we wanted to see how we could do more as a team to help out with the crisis from home. Our company, +rehabstudio, offered us the flexibility we needed to work on a series of projects that tackle the problem of boredom inside the camps. At first, it probably doesn’t seem like the biggest issue they face, but after we visited the camps we realised that some of the refugees have been there for two years with absolutely nothing to do - and I get bored after 10 minutes.

Part of what The Worldwide Tribe do is set up the wifi in the camps which helps the refugees work out where to go, contact loved ones back home and open up new possibilities. So, knowing they had wifi, we decided we’d try to help combat boredom by bringing them the latest craze that’s been sweeping the world: Pokemon Go. If people in every other country are having fun, then they should too.

Article by Joe Watson

Video made by The Worldwide Tribe