Refugee Week 2018: Contributions, creativity and resilience

11 June 2018

Katy Parker, Education Editor at the British Red Cross, introduces their new resource for Refugee Week 2018. Refugee Week takes place between 18 and 24 June and this year’s new resource celebrates 20 years of Refugee Week and helps learners to build empathy and understand the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees.

To mark the 20th anniversary we’ve developed 20 ways you can get involved in Refugee Week 2018 and use our new resource.

  1. Allocate time

We’ve created five activities designed to each take approximately 30–45 minutes. If you’ve limited time, you can just do one or choose which ones will be most useful for your learners.

  1. Link your lesson to the curriculum

Read our curriculum links (connected to Citizenship and SMSC and other countries’ equivalents).

  1. Follow a learning pathway

Use the resource to build learners’ understanding and empathy for refugees and asylum seekers.

  1. Increase your confidence

Before you kick-start your lesson you can get an overview of the key terms commonly used when speaking about refugees and asylum seekers and gain an understanding of some key facts and figures.

  1. What do young people want to know?

Research* commissioned by the Red Cross revealed more than three quarters of young people expressed an interest in learning about why people had to leave their homes and come to the UK. What does your class want to know?

  1. Create a safe space

Before starting the lesson, create a safe space and set some ground rules.

  1. Gain initial views

Get your lesson off to an energetic start by exploring initial views through a walking debate. For example, “I think that the UK should offer a safe place for people escaping war.” How much do learners agree?

  1. Match the key terms and definitions

Discussions around migrants and the movement of people can involve many different terms. Ask learners to consider each and then match the different key terms to the definitions.

  1. Understand why people migrate

Use real-life examples to help learners understand the push/pull motivations for movement.

  1. Build empathy

Build empathy through the story of Manar, an 11-year-old-girl who is originally from Syria and is now living in the UK as a refugee. Watch the film and ask a series of discussion questions.

  1. In their shoes

Think about the real challenges that refugees and asylum seekers may face when leaving their country and arriving somewhere new, and rank them in terms of “most challenging” to “least challenging”.

  1. Think about resilience

Explore how refugees may cope with some of the challenges they may face by developing their resilience through creative activities with real-life examples.

  1. Coping through creativity

How can creativity bring people together to express their feelings and share experiences? Learners can reflect on different forms of creativity and what helps them cope in difficult situations.

  1. Meet Mequannt and Espoir

The video of the Everyday People choir allows you to bring the stories of real-life refugees into your classroom. Meet Mequannt (from Ethiopia) and Espoir (from Congo) – who feature in the film and are part of a choir of young refugees – as they speak about how the choir and singing help them cope with their situation.

  1. Take positive action

In our research* the majority of young people said they wanted to know what they could do to improve the lives of young refugees and asylum seekers. Explore how your class can take positive action.

  1. Revisit initial views

Has anyone changed their position from the initial activity? Are they willing to share why and what has changed their mind?

  1. One simple act

What one small thing could your learners do to contribute towards building a shared future for everyone?

  1. Create a message

Ask your learners to create a simple message to share with the wider world. This could be what they’ve learned, showing support for refugees or encouraging others to get involved.

  1. Share your learning

Share what you do for Refugee Week 2018 by tweeting us at @BritishRedCross or using #RefugeeWeek2018.

  1. Get in touch

We’d love to know what you think of the resource. Take part in our quick survey to share your experiences.

Download the full resource from the Red Cross website.

*About the research
In 2017 the British Red Cross commissioned specialist youth researchers Platypus to interview over 900 10–19-year-olds representative of the UK population. The purpose of the research was to find out about their understanding of and attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers.

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