Schools raise awareness about refugee lives and experiences by:
- encouraging Student Representative Council led activities (e.g. Refugee ration challenge)
- organising parent and community events (eg share a meal, picnic days, movie nights, parent cafes)
- participating in extra-curricular activities (eg. visual arts projects, Football United ©)
- developing curriculum learning activities, e.g. studying texts about refugee experiences (refer to teaching notes)
- organising events eg. screening a film about refugees
- celebrating World Refugee Day
- organising Refugee Week events or programs using the Teachers’ resource kit (RCOA)
- Refugee Week classroom activities: e.g. curriculum-based lessons that explore refugee lives and experiences
- Celebrating refugee voices/experiences as part of Harmony day activites
- fundraising (for community awareness and projects), e.g. #ubelong
- inviting guest speakers eg. Face to Face program (RCOA), Living books
- entering the Multicultural Perspectives Public Speaking Competition
- volunteering for the Premier’s Volunteer Recognition Program
- running or visiting simulated refugee camp experiences, eg. Refugee Camp in my Neighbourhood (Cumberland City Council), Refugee Challenge (Wollongong City Council)
The Refugee Challenge
Menai High School 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 joined, and now also create the simulated refugee camp experience, using it as a vehicle to promote awareness at times such as Refugee Week.
The refugee challenge is also run in Wollongong every year, by Wollongong City Council, with a different school each year.
Belonging art project
Fairfield Primary School partnered with the Art Gallery of NSW, and two artists, in the Belonging project, that enabled their young students from refugee backgrounds to explore their stories and experiences through art.
Refugee Week resources
Schools in Wollongong worked with Wollongong City Council to develop films that gave voice to young refugees about their experiences of resettling in Australia. The aim of the films was to raise awareness about refugees living in the community. The council then worked with schools to develop teaching notes to assist in using the videos in classrooms.