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The purpose of this activity is to give to participants a close look on how discrimination works and how the issue is affecting the targeted person.


  • Time: 40 minutes depending on the group size
  • Materials: rope (15 meters)
  • Preparation: no special preparation is required


  1. Instruct participants that the following activity can become too intense for some of them. If this will be the case, they are free to disengage from it at any point.
  2. Invite one participant as a volunteer and offer him to play a role, like:
  • A refugee student who just arrived to school;
  • A refugee boy/girl who moved to the neighbourhood;
  • A refugee boy/girl who has a relationship with another person from the local community
  1. Tell the volunteer that if he considers the activity to be too intense he/she can just say it anytime and ask to stop.
  2. Ask participants to make a semicircle with the volunteer sitting in the centre. Ask participants to start telling negative phrases that such would typically get from society according to the option chosen before (e.g. “You are a dangerous person”, “You are not welcome here, why are you here?”). Each person telling something will simultaneously wrap the volunteer with a rope (1 circle from each speaker).
  3. After everyone has told his/her negative words at least once, take a moment of silence to let the situation sink in.
  4. Then ask participants to encourage the volunteer by telling him/her positive words (e.g. “don’t listen to them, you are still a great person”, “this is your life and you can live as you want”) while, at the same time, releasing a volunteer from the rope (in reverse order).
  5. At the end of the activity, explain the participants that it was just a game and a volunteer is a very good and amazing person.
  6. Reconvene all the participants in a circle and ask them to shake off their hands and legs, to release the emotions of the activity

Notes for facilitator:

  • This activity can be quite emotional, so use it with great care and with groups in which participants are already very comfortable with each other. Do not use this activity in short trainings or in the beginning of a training.
  • Check how the volunteer and the participants are feeling, as this can be a very emotional activity, hurting their feelings or making them feel bad. In extreme cases it can be necessary to stop early the sharing of negative thoughts and to move to the positive ones. Take also into account the possibility of stopping the activity early, moving directly to the shaking off and debriefing.


  • How was it? How did you feel during this activity?
  • For the volunteer: how did you feel being told all the negative stuff? How did you feel being encouraged?
  • For the others: what did you feel when you told the negative and positive phrases?
  • Is this similar with any situation from your community? Could you give examples?
  • What could we learn from this activity about how society is treating refugees?
  • How can we contribute to solve this problem of exclusion? 




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