New Zealand’s refugees – an interactive to make you get involved

Together We Make A Nation is trying to bring the conversation about refugees in New Zealand to the forefront.

The project is an impressive interactive site built to show the lives of four women from different parts of  the world who have made New Zealand their home.

The interactive invites you to follow the stories of Dalal from Syria, Ola from Poland, Neary from Cambodia and Yibeth from Columbia who came to New Zealand at different times and under different circumstances, but were all helped to start a new life in the country.

With a smart animated map, the site’s introduction leads the audience through what would happen if New Zealand’s population was displaced at the same rate of refugees around the world – 42,500 people per day.

It also shows an animated timeline of crises that led to refugee migration to New Zealand, starting from World War II all the way to the present day. At the end, there’s a slideshow of the  four featured women and their families asking, “Have you met the yet?”

The audience can explore each woman’s story, which features a short documentary and a map of her journey to New Zealand. There are also interactive points embedded in the video that will give you more information as you go.

The site is an impressive feat on its own, but what makes this project extra special is that viewers have a chance to engage with ways to get involved throughout their interaction with each woman’s story.

For example, while watching Dalal’s documentary, a question pops up on the screen asking, “Can you help a woman get her driver’s license?” When the viewer clicks on the question, the documentary is paused and the audience is presented with a short video about Turning the Curve, which helps refugee women do just that.

The video is accompanied with a call to “help a former refugee women gain confidence and independence through getting her driving license.” “It’s rare to find a project that links action so well with a story and makes the reader want to reach out and help immediately.

The site also allows the audience to meet people and organizations working to help refugees, explore several organizations to get involved in and learn recipes from the women.

Since I just came back from Cambodia (stay tuned for future stories coming out of my trips) and am already craving the food I had there, I might just try to make Neary’s Ba Bong beef and noodle dish this weekend.

Explore, learn and enjoy!

By Tara Todras-Whitehill

Tara worked as a staff photographer for the Associated Press for four years in the Middle East, covering the uprisings, revolutions and numerous elections in the Arab world. Her photography has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic and Washington Post, among many others. She also works on personal projects focused on women's issues. Her passion is trying to portray strong women changing their lives and the world around them.

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