team environment
This site shows my humanitarian and social design portfolio. I do process design, so optimisation of social and humanitarian processes, through system design and product design. I strive for Efficiency of humanitarian actors, through a needs based approach. I research, teach and talk about that.
humanitarian, process design, product design, social design, Frankfurt, international, German design, humanitarian Innovation, Germany, Human Centered design, community centered design, Thomas Jäger, design portfolio,
page-template-default,page,page-id-1626,bridge-core-2.2.9,ajax_updown,page_not_loaded,qode-page-loading-effect-enabled,,qode-title-hidden,qode_popup_menu_text_scaledown,qode-theme-ver-21.6,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_top,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,elementor-default,elementor-kit-8,elementor-page elementor-page-1626




Teaching children deprived of preschool education, what they need for a good start in the school system and life in a new country.

The educational services for people living in refugee  camps in Greece have always been scarce.

In Ioannina, there was scout project of Second Tree focused on teenagers and a kindergarten.

Habibi.Works (an intercultural makerspace) opened on Saturday the doors to host Kids and teach them crafts.

But for long periods of time that was it and children were simply missing out on adaquet spaces to learn and grow.

As a work shop manager in Habibi.Works, I recognized the need for a more holistic education. The kids were lacking a basic environmental and social awareness, due to their parents being overwhelmed and the traumas they faced.

This I wanted to change, by setting up Team Environment based on Habibi.Works‘ kids day, widening and deepening the learnings for the kids.

This project had two focuses – included as 1-5 years youth program:

Team: creating an awareness and understanding of fair, sustainable, and collaborative interaction with others.

Environment: creating awareness for the need to interact positively with the man-made and natural environment and providing tools to do so.


As an weekly repeating informal education class, incorporated in Habibi.Work’s ( Soup and Socks e.V.) Kidsday.

There Children got the opportunity to playfully learn about social behaviour, environmental awareness and the needed knowledge to join formal education within a european school system. We created multisensory learning experiences, through play and crafts,

serving the childrens needs for a holistic education. 

We made them aware of what being a Team, also as a global society means, by playing in teams to fair rules and  evaluating this participatory.

They got educated on the biological ecosystems surrounding them, how they work and why protecting them and all actors involved is important.

They also learned about taking care of the man made environment, by e.g. creating murals and picking up trash sessions.

Learning about tose topics was also a way for us to combine it with crafts education and self organisation trainings.




crafts and fun…

From Tuesday to Friday Habibi.Works was an intercultural maker space and platform for education, empowerment, and encounters for adult refugees and Greek locals in the North of Greece.

On Saturday this changed. Volunteers created a weekly changing program, for the children living in the camps. This program included crafts, sports, and games. It was a warm-hearted surrounding in which kids were able to forget about the difficulties they were facing and just be kids again!

Preperation for further Education conducted by Humanitarian Actors

The specifics of education change according to age of the target group. Second Tree provided informal education to teenagers in Kastikas to enable them for formal education of school.

On weekends, the participants explore the local area to develop a sense of belongingness.

The program enabled young people to develop into role models for their peers despite their circumstances. The core values of programs are:

  • teamwork
  • focus 
  • respect

Team Environment gave chance to introduce kids of 5-11 years to these concepts in advance.

Preperation for the
formal education

From a completely different educational culture, to years of no access at all and finally being expected to keep up in school…

Globally there is huge diversity in the education systems. Starting from different topics, over different approaches to learning, to different experiences of teachers‘ authority, expecting children, who fled war to simply integrate with a formal foreign school setting is inappropriate.

These children came from different educational backgrounds, being then deprived of education for several years and dealing with traumas. The system in Greece, that they were possible to join after years, tried to support and integrate them. But this is not enough to prepare them for the social and educational exchange. There needed to be prepared for this with intercultural awareness.

Education for
the Kids Daily
Lifes in-, and outside the camp

In the midst of the gray camps, there was a little sensory positive experience. Team Environment aimed to create awareness for the kids‘ surroundings, enabling them to contribute to this positively within the powers they have.

The interculturality already inside the camp and intensified outside, created tensions and negative dynamics between children from different ethnicities.

In Team Environment the participating kids learned to interact with each other respectfully.


Psychosocial support, through play and multi sensory teaching, of values and skills.


learning about
Plants, Climate,

One focus was to teach the kids how the biological environment works.

Coming from a background in which environmental awareness is rare and people e.g. burning their trash, this was a good starting point to make the children aware of their surroundings, while teaching them biological concepts. We created crafts projects, took care of the compost planted plants, fed the animals, and learned how to treat them.

We did for example tailormade multiple choice quiz’s on how plants get their nutrition. Another example was to build their own ecosystem aquarium. Groups of kids collected plants and insects to create a micro-ecosystem. While doing so they physically discovered the garden of Habibi.Works on the microscale and got educated before on what an ecosystem is and the different relationships between the actors and components.

World Cleaning Day

Katsikas Camp was excessively littered. Team Environment started sessions to clear the mess. The idea was to make kids understand the biological harm done by throwing trash in nature.

Secondly, it showed them the quick differences working as a team can make. The clean streets surrounding the camp or a cleaner corner of the camp made them proud and empowered them to teach people about the importance of cleanliness

We took it to next level on world cleaning day. In cooperation with Habibi.Works team, a marathon of Team Environment teams picked up trash in the city center of Katsikas and filled up a whale statue with it. It visualized why citizens should care and how grave the current situation was. It gave positive contact to locals with the children who appreciated their efforts, which then also created positive experiences for the kids.

Soci al

Focus on the "Team"
in Team environment

After partly being educated in fluid complex contexts of refugee camps, to live based on survival of the fittest, most kids felt the need to make sure that they get their share and best case everything. Also the trauma they were facing often made them feel like they get actively and unfairly deprived of opportunities in their daily lives. Team Environment aimed to make the kids overcome this and realise the importance of solidarity.

We executed a variety of gamified teambuilding exercises and integrated sessions that allowed the kids to learn, why working as a team works better for everyone.

To create a team out of Team Environment a set of values got defined on which the children agreed to in their onboarding ceremony. They got badges and the responsibility to collect all kids wanting to join the session, by singing a Team Environment chant.


The stampcard system

One thing that kids were lacking in this context was the ability of continuation and self-organisation. We created a system, that rewarded the kids for developing these tools instead of punishing them for not having those.

Each kid got a personalized stamp card. They got one stamp for attending the session and one stamp when they were able to prove a learning outcome.

As soon as a participating kid succeeded in filling up all the stamp card slots, they got treated for an excursion to the local ice cream shop with the volunteer team. To complete this they had to attend continuously and stay active while listening in the sessions, along with keeping and taking care of their stamp cards for a minimum interval of six weeks.

"We wait in line, Raise
our Hands and Listen
to others."

To teach the kids the principles of solidarity a clear set of rules got defined that the kids got kept accountable, but firstly consulted to these rules in the setup.

A red and yellow card system enforced this.

When a kid was not following these rules they got a yellow card and a first short conversation, that aimed to make them realise the negatives of their behaviour. In case they were continuously contradicting the rules, they got excluded from the session with a brief and short explanation, by raising a red card. This way they were also not able to finish the session and earn their stamps. The next time they were attending the session a short one-on-one conversation with them was conducted to ensure the learning about what happened in the last session.


A creative outlet

Engrained in the nature of Habibi.Works in the belief in vocational education. This form of education allows people to express themselves and learn practical skills, while the simple process of creating something provides psychosocial support.

This was something that we wanted to integrate into Team Environment.

There were sessions that enabled a creative outlet for the kids and made them create something together and help the younger ones. Other sessions resulted in group projects, that created for example a new doghouse for the dogs in the camp, a birdhouse an insect hotel, or a watering system for plants. This way they learned skills and had the positive experience of creating something positive as a group.

Letting Children
DEsign their surounding

Teaching environmental
Awareness, through

Many practical projects conducted in Team Environment were a symbiosis of crafts and the teaching environmental awareness. While building flowerpots the kids got encouraged to think about what they learned what plants need.

While building the insect hotel, they needed to remember what insects liked/needed.

But the teachings also were the other way around: It’s not just the environment that benefits from us. The kids also benefit from a healthy environment. This was illustrated to the children, by collecting material, to build their own brushes or similar projects.



Nevertheless, the trauma and frustrations they were facing were sometimes overwhelming. To create something that would definitely calm the kids in advance of Team Environment and allow them to get rid of their „anger“, I set up a kids boxing class in advance of the Team Environment sessions. A release of energy was created through, Kids Boxing allowing them to punch as hard and as often as they can a punching bag and other warmup practices. Furthermore, the kids got introduced to the concept of human respect and that fighting outside this class is bad and would exclude them from the following session. They also learned technical boxing skills to self-defend themselves and forge their self-esteem.