“With courage let us all combine” — the theme of Refugee Week, which ends this Friday (June 25) comes from the second verse of the national anthem, leading us to focus on the courage of refugees and those who stand up for men, women and children fleeing persecution.
Refugee Week has been celebrated in our schools since 1986 and coincides with World Refugee Day, June 20. The activities held throughout the week aim to facilitate a better understanding of the experiences of refugees and asylum-seekers and to provide an opportunity for them to be seen, listened to and valued.
This year, schools are encouraged to access available resources to educate students about who refugees are and why they have come here.
Federation, a proud sponsor of the Refugee Council of Australia’s Refugee Week activities, has developed extensive resources, developed by teachers for teachers, that can be used to promote Refugee Week within schools and local communities.
In addition, the Refugee Council of Australia has produced a resource kit that provides statistical information. Federation is a sponsor of this website. The kit provides a number of resources readily adaptable for the classroom:
1. Facts and figures on refugees and asylum-seekers: Did you know the difference between an asylum-seeker, a refugee and a migrant? Currently, there are approximately 60 million refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide — the highest ever recorded. The official current intake for Australia is a paltry 13,750 per year.
2. Case studies and the personal experiences of refugees: Rarely do refugees have time to make plans for their departure. The experience of trauma along the way is consistent across all refugees. Refugees who come to Australia have no opportunity to prepare themselves physically or psychologically for their new life in Australia.
3. Teaching resources and lesson plans from a number of sources including Amnesty International, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.
Refugee Week is particularly important in the lead-up to the federal election, which sees refugees and asylum-seekers once again being used as political footballs. These resources provide us, as teachers, with the tools to tell a different story.
— Anti-Racism Committee