Our Story

During 2015, a record 1.3 million refugees crossed into Europe. Between 2015 and 2016, more than 2.5 million people applied for asylum in the EU. By the end of 2016, authorities in the member states issued 593000 first instance asylum decisions. In 2015, Sweden received 162877 asylum applications, a 300% increase since 2013. Due to the amount of incoming asylum application requests, the Swedish Migration Agency has seen an unprecedented growth in the processing and handling times. The increase of people seeking refuge in Europe has caused strains on local societies and government authorities alike, prolonging the waiting times for residence permits and asylum. Shortening asylum seekers’ waiting time and ensuring that the time spent waiting is well utilized are currently the two most pressing concerns for local, national and European government agencies alike.

Our story began on May 20, 2016, when our team came together during a 12-hour workshop to tackle the refugee crisis through design. We believe that change can occur from the bottom up and that any informed citizen, with the courage and empathy to demand dignity for everyone, can make a difference in someone’s else’s life. Our investigation of the current refugee crisis and asylum seeking application process started in Stockholm (Sweden), where we visited several refugee homes to interview first hand the people that we were designing for. Talking about the refugee crises unfolding around the world, we shared the same perspective: the current isolated solutions needed a more systemic approach.

We are an interdisciplinary team, consisting of an experience designer, software developer, social entrepreneurs and business administrators. We identify as global citizens, and come from Italy, Sweden, Syria, and the United States. We are citizens, children of migrants, asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees. As a team with a diverse interdisciplinary background, we believe that any individual can offer creative solutions and alternative perspectives to some of the world’s most wicked challenges, traditionally handled by governmental institutions. 

Immigration policies, time and again, lack a human approach, when they should rather be the most human-centered obligation to our fellowmen. The Welcome Card project is a giant systemic approach to changing these policies and the view of the refugee crisis, with the ambition of bringing dignity to the humans behind the asylum application numbers.
— Veronica Polinedrio, Experience Designer and Project Leader