REFUGEE WEEK 2019

Resources, Ideas and Actions for Schools

With thanks to Clare Daly

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June.

In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and encourages a better understanding between communities.

The theme of Refugee Week 2019 is ‘You, me and those who came before’ and is an invitation to explore the lives of refugees – and those who have welcomed them – throughout the generations.

People escaping war and persecution have been welcomed by communities in the UK for hundreds of years, and their stories and contributions are all around us. From the Jewish refugees of the 1930s to people fleeing Vietnam in the 1970s, Kosovans in the 1990s to those arriving today; they are part of who we all are.

From 17-23 June 2019, Refugee Week is aiming to bring together the old and the young, those who have been here for decades and those who have just arrived, and to all learn from each other.

For more information, please see the Refugee Week website at: http://refugeeweek.org.uk

Assemblies

Primary School Assembly Plans, Unicef - This popular package of free primary school assemblies focuses on various articles of the UN Convention on the rights of the child and links them to events and days of recognition. It includes assemblies on why people become refugees and on the contribution refugees make. https://www.unicef.org.uk/rights-respecting-schools/resources/teaching-resources/primary-school-assemblies/

Christian Aid - This assembly on TES uses case studies from Angola, Bangladesh and Burma to explore some of the reasons that force people to become refugees. With an accompanying Powerpoint presentation, it aims to help pupils empathise with the situation of people who have to leave their homes. https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/refugee-assembly-resource-6020146#

SPCK Assemblies – A Long Hard Journey. This is a new assembly package suitable for the whole school, exploring experiences of refugees and the importance of offering them a welcome. The assembly is accompanied by Powerpoint Presentation.

https://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/3328/a-long-hard-journey

Teaching Resources

Teaching About Refugees, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – The UNHCR has developed a comprehensive teacher’s toolkit of free resources to help teachers create a welcoming environment for refugee pupils and to help explain the meaning of refugee, asylum, migration and statelessness to children aged 6-18 years. There is also a curated selection of teaching materials on refugee and migrant issues from NGOs, governments and other organizations available by age group. http://www.unhcr.org/uk/teaching-about-refugees.html

Rights Respecting Schools Resources, Unicef – Unicef offers a wide range of teaching resources to support the educating of children about their rights and global citizenship. ‘Forced to Flee’ is a free teaching pack that explores displacement, taking a global perspective to examine why people leave their homes, complemented by children’s stories and primary and secondary lesson plans. It is a follow-up to ‘In Search of Safety’, an education pack which helps children (from 7 years old upwards) make sense of the refugee crisis in Europe. This contains more than 20 activities ranging from short one-off lessons to longer projects and whole school ideas and includes children’s stories, infographics and videos to bring the issues to life.

https://www.unicef.org.uk/rights-respecting-schools/resources/teaching-resources/

Amnesty International UK – The ‘Seeking Safety’ activity pack for 6-8 year olds features eight interactive activities to understand why people flee their country. The pack is designed to approach the issue of asylum in a way that is accessible and appropriate to primary children. The materials and activities can be used in stand-alone lessons or in projects to encourage pupils to make connections between areas of learning. https://www.amnesty.org.uk/resources/activity-pack-seeking-safety

Amnesty’s ‘Football Welcomes’ resource, for 7-14 year olds, has been designed to support teachers to encourage discussion about refugee rights and to celebrate the contribution that people of refugee backgrounds have made to the UK, especially to football. https://www.amnesty.org.uk/resources/activity-pack-football-welcomes-refugees

British Red Cross - These teaching resources (for 7-14 year-olds) celebrate 20 years of Refugee Week helping learners to build empathy and understand the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. There are five activities differentiated for primary and secondary learners, each designed to take approximately 30-45 mins. Activities include discussion questions, a walking debate, creative activities and video case studies. Key facts and terms are included for educators, along with guidance on how to manage discussions sensitively. https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-involved/teaching-resources/refugee-week-2018

The British Red Cross has also developed lesson plans for the 7-14 age group on ‘Refugees and World War II evacuees’, exploring a speech by Princess Elizabeth aged 14 years, and on ‘Identity and Belonging’ with activities to consider identity, belonging and the impact stigma can have on refugee communities. https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-involved/teaching-resources/refugees-and-migration?q=&Category=primary

Action Aid – ActionAid has designed school resources for key stages 1 and 2. The ‘Refugee Crisis’ resource can be used to build literacy and empathy towards child refugees, and to answer questions such as: ‘How is life different for child refugees?’ and, ‘if you were a refugee, what would you take?’. The ‘Children in Conflict’ resource encourages pupils to compare and contrast their lives with that of a 13-year-old Syrian refugee, living with her family in a Refugee Camp. https://www.actionaid.org.uk/school-resources/search/s/key_stage/0-2358/topic/0-3091

National Education Union - Refugee teaching resources, booklists for primary and secondary teachers and useful websites which have been developed, used and shared by teachers for teachers, plus a ‘Welcoming Refugee Children to your School Guide’ are available on the National Education Union website. https://www.teachers.org.uk/equality/equality-matters/refugee

Twinkl - A wide range of downloadable worksheets, factfiles, powerpoint presentations, posters and activities on refugee issues are available on Twinkl, suitable for use with primary children. https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/topics/topics-organised-events/topics-organised-events-refugee-week

For further classroom resources on refugee issues, please see: http://refugeeweek.org.uk/resources/education-resources/classroom-resources/

Educational Videos

Refugee Week – A list of short refugee-related educational videos is available on the Refugee Week website. http://refugeeweek.org.uk/resources/education-resources/educational-videos/

An Intofilm resource has also been developed for teachers to use to mark Refugee Week. It contains a guide to five films, which have been specially selected to be accessible to learners from 5-19 years. The guide includes discussion questions and activity ideas to encourage learners to ask and answer questions and reflect on why people seek sanctuary in other countries. https://www.intofilm.org/resources/74#.ViDkKvlVhHx

Seven Short Films about Refugees, Amnesty International - Seven freely available videos on the reality of life as a refugee, ranging from 1 to 16 minutes have been recommended by Amnesty International’s human rights education network. They can be useful conversation starters for anyone wishing to learn more about human rights. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/education/2016/03/seven-free-short-films-about-refugees-recommended-by-human-rights-educators/

Everyday People, Music Action International - A group of teenage refugees and asylum seekers have created a song with a message of peace and unity for other young people to learn and perform for Refugee Week. ‘Everyday People’ is available as a video and comes with a Harmonise teaching resource aimed at Key Stage 2, developed by Music Action International with Refugee Week and the British Red Cross. http://musicaction.org/harmonise-resource-teachers-everyday-people-song/

Actions

Simple Acts, Refugee Week - Read a book about exile, define the word ‘refuge’ or share your refugees welcome banner: Refugee Week is inviting schools to do one of 20 Simple Acts. http://refugeeweek.org.uk/simple-acts/

The British Council has developed a homework challenge based on the Simple Acts campaign and suitable to help pupils of all ages (4-18 years) find out more about the lives of migrants and refugees, show support, and celebrate the contributions they make around the world. https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/classroom-resources/list/be-positive-messenger

Schools of Sanctuary - A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being a safe and welcoming place for all, especially those seeking sanctuary. This could be people whose lives were in danger in their own country, who have troubles at home or are just looking for a space of safety. It is a school that helps its students, staff and wider community understand what it means to seek sanctuary and to extend a welcome to everyone as equal, valued members. A Schools of Sanctuary Resource Pack (currently being updated) is available online as well as information about the process of becoming a School of Sanctuary. There is also a useful list of teaching resources, lesson plans and facts and figures about refugees for schools. https://schools.cityofsanctuary.org/resources/

Charity Work - Link up with a local refugee organisation in Bristol like Aidbox Community www.aidboxcommunity.co.uk to support our work, raise funds and take part in local actions and events.