‘The issues at the heart of refugee experiences – the importance of home, safety, and welcome – can be understood by children from a very young age. And, young people who are given the opportunity to connect with refugee experiences gain an understanding they will carry with them into adulthood. So, if you’d like to help your children or young family members understand refugee issues, then help is at hand!
‘The first ever virtual edition of Refugee Week takes place 15-21 June. Supported by Schools of Sanctuary and the National Education Union, Refugee Week is usually celebrated in hundreds of schools across the UK, and this year we hope that more children than ever will take part from their homes.
‘The theme of this year’s Refugee Week is ‘imagine’, and we know that young people will lead the way in sharing the future they want to see. There are a wide range of ways children and young people can develop their understanding of displacement and show their support for refugees during the week. Here are a few of our suggestions.’
Simple Acts Campaign
recommended for ages 4-12
Simple acts are everyday actions we can all do to stand with refugees and make new connections within our communities. You could tell a joke, read a book or even share a song that has crossed borders.
Whatever you choose, whether you fancy yourself as a stand-up or a singer, make sure you work the theme of 'imagine' into your act. And if you want to choose to read a book, ere are some suggestions for books on refugees and asylum seekrs from the Book Trust to get you started.
Watch and discuss a short film
recommended ages 5+
The best films take us to places we’d never otherwise have gone, introduce us to people we’d never otherwise have met, and spark conversations we wouldn’t otherwise have had. Watching a film together and discussing it afterwards can be a great way to explore migration and refugee experiences. This short animated poem by Kazzum Arts, Help them feel at Home, is a great starting point for younger children.
You’ll find more films and resources for older children, and resources to help discussions around the films, in the Refugee Week Activity Pack
Send a message of welcome to a newly-arrived family
recommended for ages 4-11
Coordinated by Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary, A Day of Welcome is a day of solidarity and learning that aims to build a culture of welcome and understanding for refugees and asylum seekers. You can create a piece of artwork to welcome Syrian families who have resettled in the UK and share with Norfolk City of Sanctuary to be included in their digital exhibition.
Make a doll’s house and be part of an international virtual exhibition
recommended for ages 5+
The virtual giant dolls’ house project Alone Together invites children of all ages to make their own doll’s house in a shoe box. Led by architect Catja de Haas and supported by Oxfam and the London Festival of Architecture, it’s an opportunity for young people to share their experiences of being stuck at home, whilst also imagining what it is like to lose the place you live.
To find out more, and for tips on how to make your doll’s house, visit the Giant Dolls’ House website and don’t forget to share your images and stories before 20 June to be included in the exhibition.
Explore poetry and migration tales with Ministry of Stories
recommended for ages 11-16
To help young people investigate stories of migration and of those seeking refuge, The Ministry of Stories has released a special writing pack for Refugee Week 2020. Through it young writers will be able to create their own poetry inspired by song lyrics. At the heart of the exercises are the questions: ‘what would make someone leave their home and their loved ones?’ and ‘how do you start to build a new life after that?’
There are many more activities you and your children can take part in during Refugee Week, including virtual events. So be sure to explore the full programme.
And, the Refugee Week 2020 Children & Young People’s Activity Pack contains even more links to creative activities, films and learning resources for you to explore.
Don’t forget to share how you celebrate Refugee Week on social media using #RefugeeWeek2020.
Refugee Week is a partnership project coordinated by Counterpoints Arts.
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