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Published on 23 June 2022

At the end of May, a group of Christian Aid staff travelled to the island of Cumbrae to run our refugee simulation game, Safe Place Challenge, at the Boys’ Brigade National camp for around 120 boys and officers.

The interactive experience is designed to replicate the situations which people displaced from their homes face. Leaving home due to climate or conflict is traumatic; arriving in a new space is confusing and disorienting.

At the start of the challenge, the young people are given a list of possible items they can take with them, however they can only take a limited number so have to prioritise things they think will be useful or valuable.  They are only given a short time to make these decisions, reflecting the pressure that families facing this situation would be under.

Boys Brigade taking part in the Safe Place Challenge

Once they have chosen what to take, the groups begin a series of challenges. From trying to obtain a train ticket and negotiating with police to get identity papers, through to building a shelter, accessing medical help for an injured family member and trying to find clean drinking water. The outcome of each challenge is determined by the group being given a choice of chance cards which may help or hinder their progress through the experience. The groups also have decisions to make about selling items, exchanging valuables for tickets or access to help, and in some cases these decisions might slow down or even block their onward journey.  

When the groups have completed all the challenges, they come back together for a debrief session (they are only allowed to enter the final debrief zone if they have managed to get identity cards from the police!) to reflect on the choices and decisions they made during the experience, and to hear more information about Christian Aid’s work with refugees in conflict areas.

a group of boys in a school hall

Find out more

The Safe Place Challenge pack and further information is available from our Youth & Education Coordinator, Emma Gardner. Email

Safe Place Ludo

Safe Place Ludo is a board game that explores the difficult journeys made by people fleeing conflict.