As part of Refugee Week 2019, three refugees in our network kindly gave talks at local schools about their experiences. Children heard about why the refugees had to leave their homes, how they got here and their experiences of living as refugees in the UK.
The children then enthusiastically embraced an art activity, in which they created cut-outs of their hands decorated with messages of welcome and support to be passed on to all the refugees and asylum seekers in our network.
Helen Floyd, our schools volunteer, then read out some of the clearly heartfelt messages at one of our drop-ins. It was really touching and pretty emotional to hear the children’s kind and caring sentiments.
Helen felt the school visits went really well; “The students responded well, asking good questions and showing a respectful interest in wider issues concerning refugees. […] The children were extremely responsive and enthusiastic and there was a very positive atmosphere. I think the whole session proved to be very affirming for the guests and gave many beneficial learning opportunities for the class.”
Anya Walters from WSCC attended too, and she also reported that, “The questions the children asked were respectful, thoughtful, and showed they cared and empathised with refugee experiences. Clearly they had some grounding knowledge, which was great to build on, surprising them with just how many people are refugees seeking safety across the world, and how there are and have been talented refugees for thousands of years!
“With so many of the boys fist-bumping Jelani at the end, I think he’s a local famous football player who happens to also be a refugee, what a great way for them to see how we are all the same, with talents and hopes.”
Thank you to those who gave the talks – it isn’t easy to speak publicly about painful experiences – and thank you to Helen for organising these valuable events, and to the schools for hosting them.