a hug vest for refugee children

Refugee children all over the world are having lasting mental health problems from their forced travel experiences. Alex Sander and I created a convertible vest, ômwola, to help alleviate the toxic stress refugee children go through when transitioning to a new location. 



"I can't sleep at night in the camps. I have night terrors of the men with guns chasing me."







Insight interviews

      “I see similarities between children on the spectrum & refugees especially when coping with   sensory overload.”


      When do you feel loved? “I feel loved when Mommy and Daddy are proud of me.”
      “To relax, I press my fingers into my palm, pause, hold and then I breathe deeply.”
       “I do miss my home and country. I miss being with my parents.” 

Similarities between children on the Autistic spectrum + refugee children. 

Autistic children use pressure vests to focus + to be calm during school. To them it feels like a reassuring hug.

Through our interviews + research we found that both struggle with processing different sensory triggers.


How do kids cope with being sensory overloaded. 

Syrian children are suffering from toxic stress caused by their constant exposure to violence.

Causing lasting mental health problems such as sleeplessness, loss of appetite and anger problems.






This is a physco-aesthetic map we created to visualize the current market of compression and weighted vests. This helped us identify where improvements could be made and clarify what type of product we wanted to produce.




Prototype Models



Materials to offer proper durability + comfort.

+ Jersey internal layer

+ Paracord

+ Gore-Tex outer layer

+ Industrial Velcro