Asylum seekers designing a better network of  sanctuary in  New York City.  


Global crises. Local action.

While the US federal government closes its doors to asylum seekers, New Yorkers find new ways to welcome them. 

In New York City, churches house asylum seekers in their basements; families host them in their spare bedrooms; lawyers offer counsel; and volunteers run clothing drives. 

But thousands still fall through the cracks.


We are asylum seekers, designers, and supporters on a mission to find the cracks in the asylum system  in New York City. Together, we want to improve how we welcome and learn from newcomers in New York City.  We use design thinking methods to identify gaps in services for asylum seekers, propose solutions, and test new ideas for welcome. 

We operate under the following values:



We DESIGN inclusively to bring asylum seekers out of an urban shadow.



We WELCOME the refugees who arrive on our doorstep, just as generations of Americans before us.



We ADVOCATE collectively to resist policies of exclusion of marginalized groups.



We VALUE the innovative contributions made by all immigrants.


“We need a strong network that
connects asylum seekers and reduces isolation.”

George Ogutu  |  Asylee designer


Our Design Thinking Journey


Over the course of 6 months, our team of asylum seekers and designers  are working together to identify gaps in service for asylum seekers in New York. Together, they will work with communities of other asylum seekers to propose new solutions, test ideas, and build new networks of support for asylum seekers.  To do so, we'll use Design Thinking methods to ensure that solution are not just innovative, but are useful, accessible, and relevant to the asylum seeker communities. Our team will present our prototype at the Design for Humanity Summit, hosted at Fordham University on June 22, 2018. We’ll be on the lookout for  advice from humanitarians and designers as well as opportunities to make the project a reality.

You can learn more about our process below:

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Ready to help?

Join Us


Our Partners

The following institutions are currently making this project possible with their financial and institutional support and knowledge: