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A mobile game to help displaced children learn their rights

This research is set to explore the use of a digital mobile game as a learning tool to help displaced children learn their rights and help them integrate better in the society they live in. The project focuses in Greece as it is estimated that 25.500 migrant and refugee children live across Greece (UNHCR, June 2018). Among them 3448 are unaccompanied minors, 2313 children are still in need for a shelter, and less than 62% of all children of school age are enrolled in Greek schools (UNHCR, June 2018). These children are really vulnerable. Together with all other initiatives to provide them shelter and places in schools, it is imperative first, to empower them and second, to help their integration to the Greek society.

Empowerment will come through learning more about their rights. Refugee and migrant children often suffer from 'injured self-esteem and diminished cultural pride’. Teaching them about their rights will help the process of healing and push them to resume the very important sense of normalcy.

In the past months an interdisciplinary team from the School of Law, and Games Design, and the Network of Children’s Rights in Athens, Greece came together to design and develop the game. With significant input from the social workers and the Director of NCR, as well as 6 game design students, a series of workshops defined the learning outcomes. The game mechanics were developed based on these and the prototype game was developed over a period of five days.

The prototype will soon be tested at NCR Headquarters in Athens with refugee and migrant children.

Images below show our team at work

Rights hero team
Rights hero team
Rights hero workshop
Rights hero workshop
Rights hero team
Rights hero team
Rights hero game design
Rights hero game design

Game Design Students:
Olivia (Liv) Jeremiah
James (Jim) McCormick
Adam Oliver
Alistair Rennie
Sam Hapgood
Zita Szarvasi

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Alexandra Xanthaki - Alexandra is a leading expert on indigenous rights in international law. AMong her several publications, her monograph Indigenous Rights and United Nations Standards: Self-determination, Culture and Land (Cambridge University Press) is considered a reference source on the topic. In 2011 Alexandra co-edited Reflections on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Hart) and most recently, in 2017, Indigenous Peoples' Cultural Heritage (Martinus Nijhoff/ Brill). Her work has been cited repeatedly in United Nations documents and she has given keynote speeches around the world, including the Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi; the KL Bar, Malaysia; Trento, Italy; and London. She has worked closely with the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, the ILO. Currently she is working with Minority Rights Group International on the rights of the Latin American community in the 7sisters re-development in Haringey, London. She has taught civil servants, indigenous leaders and activities in Vietnam, Pretoria, Kyiv, and London. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London).   Before she joined Brunel university, Alexandra taught in Keele and Liverpool. She has received the STAR award for her teaching and stduent support. She is a member of the Human Rights Faculty of the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford and has been an external examiner in several law departments, currently at Birkbeck.   Since October 2015, Alexandra leads the Athens Refugee Project, where she takes Brunel law students to Athens to volunteer in migrant and refugee sites, provide assistance and learn more on the refugee crisis in Europe from discussions with state authoriites, NGOs and IGOs. She has found invaluable partners in Maria Voutsinou from the Greek Ombudsman for Human Rights and Kenneth Hansen from Faros ('The Lighthouse'), an NGO on unaccompanied minors. Brunel University has received a congratulatory letter from the Greek state for this project. In 2017, Alexandra organised a series of academic multi-disciplinary events on Migrant and Refugee Rights in London (with IALS) and Athens.    Qualifications: LLB (Athens); LLM (QUB); PhD (Keele); Lawyer (Athens Bar)

Related Research Group(s)


International Law - Addressing the fields of public international law, from human rights law to refugee law, the laws of war, international criminal law and dispute resolution.

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Global Lives - Research conducted in the Centre addresses the challenges facing society, helping to change the lives of people around the world by bringing economic, social and cultural benefits.

Partnering with confidence

UKRI Research England

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 10/09/2021