9 June, 2016

Refugees: Educational Resources

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Category: Asylum seekers, Education, Educational activity, Refugees
Community Manager
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dmeu_r705b_1_std.lang.all másolataEducational activities, exercises and resources to learn and understand more about refugees and asylum seekers and the whole issue around them

M. Gandhi said: “My life is a message”.

According to this quote it wouldn’t be hard to identify the thousands of refugees coming to Europe as a living message of social, political and economic injustice. In the same way we would become the ideal recipient of this message of hopelessness, as it is a message intended to reach us.

Have you ever felt that your life was in real danger?  how would be your life  if your city and properties  were destroyed by bombs? What would you do if your family were in risk? There are many possible answers as well as different  ways to approach the issue, but the end of the story  of course, would not be the same.

Luckily it’s possible to learn about these stories in different ways, spreading also this knowledge with other people around us in order to create a better understanding of the situation and helping in the creation of a welcoming environment for the protagonists of these stories, who are fleeing their homes looking for safety and for hope. Education of course, it’s the primary tool for raising awareness, especially in children and young people and one of the best  way to teach about refugees and asylum seekers, is through role play and animated tales. Using in fact a mixture between traditional educational resources (drawings, tales, books etc.) and multimedia  ones (videos, mobile apps etc), it’s possible  to create workshops that are profitable and funny at the same time. This kind of educational games aims to put people in refugees’ shoes, to make them feel in the same position, giving them the opportunity to feel the fear, obliging them to  take quick decisions, such as the ones that a refugee must take in  order to seek asylum and a better life. Once people acquire this different point of view, it becomes easier to counteract prejudices and stereotypes addressing refugees and it becomes also possible to build a solidarity connection based on all the questions surrounding refugees and asylum seekers, as these can be easily connected to the ones concerning basic human rights.

Below you can find some resources that can help you in this task, but you can also look at this web page to gain more information and suggestions. http://www.unhcr.org/

For children

Introducing children to difficult questions about refugees and asylum seekers can be  easy if you choose the right tools. To keep their attention alive is convenient to involve them since the beginning using resources  like tales and videos.

For instance, ACNUR published various drawing stories, video tales and teaching guides about the refugees’ trajectory of children. A good example is the story of “The Little Charlotte”, a small girl with orange hair that has to run away from her home because of a huge fire. Charlotte goes across different scenes, asking for a place to stay and a little bit of food. The land of the stones, bird’s paradise, a poor cit and so on, and all  these places have something to teach to Charlotte but  never a shelter  for her.  Thanks to this tale children participants will have to guess why this happens,  and the educator can guide guiding them with different questions.

Before ending the tale, it’s recommended to invite children to create their own end for the story. They will come up with  many different and creative options   that can be drawn in a final activity (and then hungton a wall). Finally, the end of the  story will be revealed and children can have the last discussion about the refugee question. The purpose of this activity is to find similarities with the current times, giving names to the conflicts and to the countries that are  suffering from them.

Finally, it’s also recommended another kind of activity: the theatre-tales, which promote a funny interaction  between the children and  the characters  they will have to represent. So Through funny stories starred by fruits, animals, flower etc., kids can learn about the different situations a  child can face in different parts of the world and also about issues like  integration and inclusion.

Other resources:

Activity pack “A Time to Flee” – one hour lesson to understand why people become asylum seekers and the difficulties they face on arrival in another countr- Activity pack “Seeking Safety” – eight interactive and adaptable activities to enable primary classes to explore asylum in a participatory way.

Guide and video of “The Enemy Tale”

For youngsters

There are many different and cool options to use with young people. From building big boards on the floor imitating leisure games (“Roll the dice”) to interactive mobile and computer applications that allow them to take different virtual actions. Having fun is absolutely compatible with learning about human rights.

One recommendable platform is Amnesty International that contains  a huge variety of educational resources to better understand the “refugee crisis”.  For teachers, it’s even possible to download a complete lesson about refugees and asylum seekers. One of them is called “Everyone Everywhere” and uses recent true stories and a dramatic role play activity to help students to understand and empathise with asylum seekers and refugees. Also, the Georgetown University hosts sample lesson plans and resources that teachers  can use in order to design a unit about refugees and forced displacement.

Against all odds” instead is an interactive game created by UNHRC that “let’s you experience what it is like to be a refugee”. What happen if you are not recognised as a refugee? What  would happen if you were stopped at the border? Or if you were not allowed to stay in the country you dreamed about? Hundreds of difficult questions are brought up to participants of this role game. And the situations are totally different depending on the answer you replied.

Over Under Sideways Down” it’s a comic story made by the Red Cross about a teenage refugee that leaves Iran and take a long journey to be granted asylum in the UK

Ideas to create events in your school

There are a lot of students committed to the refugee matter and who  start their own projects or events in their classes or in their schools. In this link (in Spanish, but you can use the translator) you will find some ideas and examples about it, and you can see how many Spanish schools have organised events like small markets, video projects, concerts or even itinerant circus and theatre to collect some money and donate it to organisations working with refugees. The goal of these events is to raise awareness among your circles and to have visible results about your commitment.

Keep in mind that everything you can do in this sense, is a step forward to defend the universal human right of seeking asylum.

For this action day activists are preparing recommended educational activities and exercises that address the topic of Refugees and support development the competences of young people. Freedom Unlimited from Bookmarks. Refugee Centre in SleepyVille, adaptation of Bookmarks activity p 32 ‘A new mosque in Sleepyville’. 3 things, from Compass. Can I Come in, from Compass. How much do we need?, from Compass.


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