REFUGEES in AUSTRALIA

Menai High School students take part in refugee week activities
Students at a Sydney high school work together to create a refugee camp simulation activity. © NSW Department of Education and Communities

GETTING INVOLVED

schools

Learning about refugee stories can occur in many different ways.
Some schools have suggested that awareness about refugee lives and experiences can be raised through:

  • Student Representative Council (inform other students)
  • parent community (eg picnic days, movie nights)
  • extra curricular activities (eg. art projects Football United ©)
  • curriculum activities (refer to teaching notes)
  • events (eg. Screen the Roads to Refuge DVD, acknowledge Human Rights Day)
  • fundraising (for community projects)
  • guest speakers (eg. ask a representative from a refugee advocacy group)
  • explore films/ books/ art (refer to teaching notes)
  • enter competitions such as the Multicultural Perspectives Public Speaking Competition
  • involvement in the Premier’s Volunteer Recognition Program
  • teaching staff (involvement in advocacy or external programs)
  • developing a Refugee Week event or program
  • simulated refugee camp (eg. Menai High School, Liverpool Boys’ High School, Kirrawee High School, and Auburn Community)
  • a cultural exchange can be a very effective way of bringing school communities together to learn about each other. Cultural Exchange NSW is a website that facilitates inter-school partnerships. The website provides information and resources for developing cultural exchange programs and other strategies that foster intercultural understanding amongst their students, staff and communities.

Examples

There are many examples of programs and initiatives to support refugee settlement happening in schools today.

ONE WELL, MANY RAINDROPS

Students from Orara High School in Coffs Harbour have created artworks which convey their stories as refugees and migrants. Their stories are told through objects which they have brought with them and are being shown in an exhibition called ‘One Well, Many Raindrops’ at Coffs Harbour Regional Museum.

REFUGEE camp in my school - The Refugee Challenge

Menai High School has conducted a simulated refugee experience called ‘The Refugee Challenge’. Staff and students come together in creating an experience of displacement for students as they travel the path of a refugee, from the point of having to leave their home country, to the point of being processed as an asylum seeker on arrival at their destination. Gymea Community Aid and other schools have joined, and now also create the simulated refugee camp experience, using it as a vehicle to promote awareness at times such as Refugee Week.