Cover image: Refugee Week and 'Simple Acts'

Refugee Week and 'Simple Acts'

Refugee Week started in 1998 in response to the negative news stories of refugees. Nowadays, it consists of hundreds of events that take place across the UK, many of which are organised by schools. The Simple Acts campaign builds upon the idea of Refugee Week, and gives us something we can do all year round - in fact, you can start today! It is about inspiring people to use small, everyday actions to learn and do more with refugees. It's made up of 20 actions that can bring people together and help to create the kind of world we all want to live in. Here are four actions you can start with. Visit the Simple Acts website for more ideas

1. Learn to say a few things in a new language

Speech bubbles imageScientists have discovered that learning just a few phrases in a new language can improve how you speak your own. People who learn new languages are also better at things like maths, art, and problem solving. Phew! Perhaps the best thing about learning to speak a few sentences of another language is that it opens up the world of opportunity. Think about it like this: if there are 5,000 people in the UK who speak Bosnian, by learning to say “how are you today?” or “want to dance?” in Bosnian you increase the number of new friends you could make to 5,000.

2. Take a picture of you and your pro-refugee banner

Image of refugee bannerThis small action is about taking some action. So, arm yourself with marker pens, colourful paper and scissors - and make a banner. Anything goes: words of support, smiley faces, and things like “I ? refugees” or “Refugees, you rock”. If you are lost for words, use your favourite lyrics. Why not display your banners in your classroom or local park?

3. Share a song

Image of sharing a songTrue or false: you can still remember the lyrics of the songs you loved when you were younger but you can’t remember algebra or history with the same ease. That’s because it’s easier to learn and remember when we learn through song. Scientists say that singing can also be used to teach challenging concepts and develop language, while our brain is fooled into thinking that we’re having fun rather than learning. This is why sharing a song with a refugee is such a good idea – we learn something of their culture, they learn something of ours and we all get to have a little bit of fun along the way.

Case Study

Image of Year 5, Godwin SchoolYear Five, Godwin School Choir created a song about welcoming refugees to their community. “We enjoyed making this song and learning new facts about refugees, it is important to learn about new cultures and it’s fun too!’ Zarin Sarwar and Jessica Tuley ‘My grandparents came from the Congo where there was a war. My family now welcome new refugees. People should remember that it could happen to anyone.’ Alex Haydock-Wilson ‘When my dad came from Pakistan he missed home. Lots of people in our school come from different countries, these actions will help them to not miss home so much.’ Maheen Hashmi

4. Learn five facts about refugees

Five facts imageHaving facts at hand is particularly useful when talking about refugees because there is so much nonsense and misinformation going around. Facts:
  • M.I.A, Mika and Bob Marley are / were refugees
  • 11 refugees from the UK have won the Nobel Prize for science
Check out more facts about refugees

Teaching resources on refugees

More info E: T: 020 7346 6752