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



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 Public Speaking Competition
  • participate in the NSW DEC Student Volunteering and Service Learning
  • teaching staff (involvement in advocacy or external programs)
  • developing a Refugee Week event or program (eg Marsden Rd Public School)
  • simulated refugee camp (eg. Menai High School)
  • 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.


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

Glass Without Water

Four schools in the Coffs Harbour region were involved in a project that culminated in a creative art and writing exhibition called Glass Without Water. Young refugee students were able to demonstrate that they had a message to communicate about the past, present and future. The project exhibition illustrated the students' stories of displacement, abandonment and fear, expressions of hope, love and prosperity.

Primary Intensive English Program - Berala Public School

Refugee students participating in the Primary Intensive English Program for Refugee Students at Berala Public School recently held a Refugee Art Exhibition, proudly displaying their artwork as well as a short film they had created.

Refugee Week
  • Marsden Road Public School: Teachers at Marsden Road PS decided that Refugee Week provided a good opportunity to raise awareness in the school about refugees in Australia and the refugee situation around the world...
  • South Western Sydney: During Refugee Week in South Western Sydney a resource was developed to assist all schools in raising awareness about refugee experiences...

More school initiatives and events »