Activities: Quick, little preparation required
Note to teachers: This is a powerful theme that for some class members can have personal resonance – either for themselves or within current or previous generations of their families. It is important that this is recognised and it may need to be acknowledged during the study of this theme.
What is a Refugee?
Ask learners to talk in pairs and discuss this question. Conduct a class discussion asking the pairs to feedback their ideas and current understanding to the group. Decide as a class what you understand by the term Refugee and display this somewhere prominent.
No place like home….
Display some popular sayings about home e.g. ’There’s no place like home’, ‘Home sweet home’, ‘Home is where the heart is’. Ask the class to add some more examples and conduct a brief discussion about what ‘home’ means.
Homes around the world
Ask learners to share or revisit their thoughts on ‘home’. Display some pictures of different types of home e.g. homes typical of the school’s neighbourhood; homes typical of an international partner school area if possible; or global examples – tower block, yurt, igloo etc.
Introduce the idea of being homeless and the loss of home for refugees and displaced people. Share pictures of where people might live if they have been forced to leave their home. It’s important to note that not all refugees live in organised tent cities or hostels. Many live under railway bridges, abandoned buildings, drains etc. Ask learners to reflect on what it must be like to have to leave your home, your neighbourhood and your country very quickly.
Share the following Refugees facts with your class and compare this information with their first thoughts on what is a refugee in the first activity.
Refugees are people displaced from their normal homes seeking or already in a place of safety. Usually refugees are people who move from one country to another country in order to escape from something or someone, however sometimes people are displaced (move to another area) within their own country.
At the moment refugees are in the news a great deal, but they are not people unique to current times. Refugees have existed for thousands of years, but today the power and speed of the mass media in the 24/7 newsroom mean that their stories and lives are not only quickly publicised as headline stories but also quickly forgotten.
In many ways a refugee is a migrant. However, while migrants tend to move for a combination of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors with social or economic motives in a reasonably controlled way, refugees are usually forced to move because conditions in their homeland have become impossible.