Duet is a web-based platform connecting resettled refugees and donors to support the local economy of the communities where they relocate. Duet was conceived by a group of students in a Civil Engineering class at the University of Southern California that was centered around understanding the refugee crisis between Syria and Europe in order to design a system or product to alleviate one facet of its issues. Instead, Duet came up with a solution to three issues.
Addressing The Lack of Autonomy
First, Duet addressed the lack of autonomy that refugees have over their lives. They are a vulnerable population forced to flee from their homes and leave most – if not all – of their belongings behind, only to be dropped into a foreign culture where they have to rely on donations and government stipends while resettling. The team realized that a missing component in the help that the refugees were receiving was the most basic thing – the refugees’ input.
Duet empowers these refugees by giving them the choice to request what they need. This gives them autonomy because of the financial alleviation that receiving these necessary items gives them. Instead of fretting over whether to spend on either food and medicine or invest in long-term items like a pan, they don’t have to pick and choose what necessities to forgo to meet basic needs.
The Duet team visitng Giannis's shoe store in Lesvos, Greece.
Bettering Local Economies
Second, refugees are not the only population affected by their displacement. The locals in the communities they relocate to also see the effects come to fruition negatively for the economy. The refugees have no disposable income, or income at all in many cases, to spend at local shops.
At the same time, tourism is being driven away by the influx of refugees resettling in small communities. By channeling donors’ purchases of the refugees’ requested items through local stores, locals and refugees have a chance for a positive interaction to mend the communities both socially and economically.
Building Authentic Connections
Finally, Duet connects the donor and the refugees in a very personal way. Instead of a generic picture being mailed or a description of what your money could possibly be doing, Duet sends a picture that came straight from the refugee with the item that you donated. You get to see how your donation has affected the recipient, first-hand.
Duet is a culturally-conscious, economically responsible and personally rewarding way of giving. You can do good, better.