H4 SKILL TRADE



For a course on Disruptive Design for Informal Economies by  Steve Daniels and Justin Levinson, Akshata Malhotra, Meghan Lazier, Michelle Kwon, Pragya Mishra and I focussed on building a platform for women who are H4 visa or dependent spouse visa-holders. Through research we identified the greatest pain point for them was not to be authorized to work in the US despite being highly qualified. 

tHE CHALLENGE: 

 HOW CAN H4 VISA HOLDERS USE THEIR KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND INTERESTS TO FEEL CONFIDENT    AND VALUED?


 We focussed our studies on women who have recently moved to the country on an H4 Visa and are therefore mot familiar with the people or places. We conducted personal interviews with South Asian and Korean women.

We designed this visualization to map their current interactions with people and media to get a deeper understanding into their motivations and aspirations.


We used empathy maps as tools to create the personas of the main stakeholders in the system.

We did this by documenting the stories we had collected through personal interviews and categorizing its components in terms of 'feeling', 'thinking', 'doing' and 'saying'



We also mapped out scenarios of 'H4 visa holders who are not working' and 'H4 visa holders who are engaged in unregulated work' to identify their high and low points. This gave us an insight into pain points and motivations in their journey.


We launched a Facebook page for H4 Skill Trade as a minimum viable product (MVP) to track results for our assumption that women would want to exchange skills to practice their expertise or interests and interact with other women in the country.

Through this MVP, we learnt that H4 visa holders need a trusted source to use such platform to ensure safety and authenticity. Women who have moved to the country months ago and have exhausted all other options are more likely to use this platform than women who have recently moved. 


Based on our learnings we decided to hand over the Facebook page to Meghna Damani, the director of a documentary 'Hearts Suspended' which is based on the same issue. She is also a part of the community of H4 Visa holders.

We continued this project in a Transmedia Storytelling Workshop taught by Lina Srivastava. During this time, we developed this PSA for Meghna's blog to encourage voting for a change of policy on work authorization for H4 Visa holders. This video got more than 1500 views on her blog and increased the number of voted drastically.

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Special thanks to Lina Srivastava, Gina Kim, Laura Kadamus, Robin Newman, Rachel Dixon, Pragya Mishra Covadonga Abril Paredes, Anna Luiza Braga, Michelle Kwon, Rhea Rakshit, Liora Yuklea and Jennifer Emmons for the video.

 Research & Strategy: Akshata Malhotra, Meghan Lazier, Michelle Kwon, Pragya Mishra and Swar Raisinghani               Visual Design: Swar Raisinghani