Migrating Dolls

Transforming the image of Immigrant vs. Refugee


-To present and educate about differences between definitions of immigrant and refugee

-To foster self-reflecting learning and raise awareness about migration reasons

-To encourage cognitive transformation of personal assumptions of social issues


Expected Outcomes

During the workshop participants will be able to present their thoughts and understanding of migration issues, to explain how they perceive immigrants vs. refuges differences and to deepen their knowledge and encourage the positive transformation of the cognitive perception of the topic.


Target group

Youth and Adults (over 14 years old)


Number of participants: 10-12 people



1 hour


(1 - very easy, 5 - very difficult)

The degree of expertise needed - 4

The amount of work to prepare and implement the scenario - 3

The relative overall cost predicted - 3



The room with two big tables and chairs around them.


Materials needed: toilet paper, foil paper, wrapping paper, scissor, glue, paints, threads, markers.

Photographs depicting migration issues (with a focus on representation of immigrants and refugees)

  2 copies of Annex 2



Facilitator should have a scientific and based on facts knowledge about migration issues, differences between the status and image of immigrant and refugee.




Nowadays migration issue became a constant topic of our society and one of the most often covered topics in the medias. Medial representation of the topic and also depicting the image of immigrants and refugees forms our personal perception of the mentioned above social actors. It is often a inadequate and despicable image which might be preserved in the society which lacks direct contact and self-reflection on the matter.

This workshop is intended to discuss and reconstruct the false images of immigrants and refugees among the society we live in and foster future interest of the topic.



Stage one: Creating Migrating Dolls (15 min)


At the beginning of the workshop participants are divided into two groups (on lottery basis) and are asked to create paper dolls – one group should create a doll representing an immigrant, and another group – a refugee. Participants should create dolls from the simple materials provided by the facilitator like toilet paper, wrapping paper, threads etc. Moreover, they should think of a story which would represent Doll’s migration experience. When the task is completed, both groups have to present the dolls for each other and explain the symbols they used.


Suggested questions for a facilitator:

1. Who is your doll?

2. Where does it come from?

3. Why did your doll migrate to the society you live in?

4. What does your doll do in the host society? Does it want to go home?



Stage two: Matching the Visual vs. Imaginary (5 min)


Next task is to match different definitions of immigrants and refugees with the lined on the table in a mixed order with the doll they have created. Please find the definitions in Annex 2. Every group should choose at least 5 definitions from the collection which are suitable for them.


Stage three: What do I know? (20 min)


The discussion would follow the task defining proper description of immigrant and refugee, their representation and common misunderstanding between these two definitions. Participants should discuss why they chose the descriptions and how do they relate these descriptions to their doll. The facilitator should explain the basic definitions of both terms and what are the common mistakes related to this topic.


Suggested questions for a discussion (10 min):

1. How do I understand a term: immigrant?

2. How do I understand a term: refugee?

3. What are the differences between an immigrant and a refugee?



At the end of the workshop, participants create a circle for debriefing. It is important to have this final discussion of the workshop in order to talk about the struggles and misunderstanding during the whole workshop and to anchor the new information obtained during the workshop. A facilitator should be aware and assure that all the participants leave the workshop with the answers to their questions, without any further doubts or misunderstanding related to the topic.

The questions which might be used during the self-reflection discussion:

1. What have you learnt from this workshop? What you did not know before the workshop and how did the workshop changed your perception? What do you know now about the migration issues?

2. How do you feel after this workshop? What emotions, thoughts, ideas did you have during the process?

3. What did you find easy with this task? What was hard for you? (10 min)


Support tools








Ideas for action

This workshop could be implemented during the class of History, Geography, English language (learning foreign language), handcrafts, Political Science or Sociology (both, at school or University). It is a good way to encourage people to discuss and reflect of misrepresentation of specific groups depicted in the medias, how medias are forming our world understanding and how it could be changed.

It can also be implemented in various NGO working with migration issues and multicultural communication, by social workers and other specialists.



Annex 1: Immigrant vs. Refugee Comparison chart

Annex 2: Definitions: Immigrant & Refugee


Created by Socialinių - edukacinių iniciatyvų centras Plius





Social-educational initiative centre PLUS


Make it Better


Ecos do Sur





The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi¬ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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