By Emily Loud, the Wonder Foundation.
Where did you first come across the word “refugee”? The chances are it was at school, perhaps in history class when learning about Europe’s world wars and their tragic consequences. Important as these chapters in our history are, the concepts behind them may seem distant from the everyday lives of young people today, especially in a media environment that frequently dehumanises the refugee men, women and children currently fleeing from violence.
This Refugee Week, the Wonder Foundation – an educational charity based in London – is aiming to help schools engage with these issues more deeply with our “Refugee Like Me” lesson plan. By enabling students to understand what it means to be a refugee, and to put themselves in their shoes, schoolchildren can begin to make sense of this confusing topic.
At a time when refugees are often portrayed frightening and “other”, educational resources like these can help the next generation develop empathy and critical thinking, as well as building tolerance towards people from different backgrounds. In doing so, young people can also engage with the idea that, in many ways, refugees are just like us: they too have hopes, fears and ambitions; they too need education, healthcare and safety.
By spreading this message of solidarity and the facts to go with it, we hope to do our bit in working towards to a future where the UK can better welcome refugees in their times of need, supporting them with the necessary education and resources to integrate and rebuild their lives.
You can download the “Refugee Like Me” resources: here: http://www.wonderfoundation.org.uk/refugeeweek2016#teaching
Find out more about Wonder’s campaign to support English language classes for refugees here: http://www.wonderfoundation.org.uk/node/256
If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions related to the resources, please get in touch with Ruth via firstname.lastname@example.org