“It is important to learn about refugees because people don’t really know about it and they start making assumptions,” said Alesia, a student Park High School in Stanmore.
Alesia and her class recently took part in a lesson using the British Red Cross Refugee Week teaching resource.
When young people hear news reports about refugees, they can sometimes be hard to understand. People may find it hard to empathise with what refugees are going through.
But teaching young people about refugees in the safe environment of school can really open their minds and emotions.
Free refugee teaching resources from the Red Cross
Free online teaching resources from the British Red Cross help teachers bring the real-life stories of refugees into their classroom.
Through engaging activities, young people start to understand the challenges that refugees face and the positive contributions they make.
Students can also explore the interests, hopes and fears they share with refugees.
“Refugees are just like us”
Red Cross research shows that young people want to know more about refugees and asylum seekers.*
It also found that 83 per cent believe that young refugees are just like them.
When we spoke to a group of 13- and 14-year-olds at Park High School about their lesson, what shone through was their kindness towards refugees.
“We need to start caring for these people because they have gone through so much and they are really brave and they have courage to come to this country, and I think we should be more accepting,” said Alesia.
After watching the story of 11-year-old Manar, a refugee originally from Syria, the students were moved by her journey to the UK and the struggles she faced.
Soleeman added, “I think it is important to treat people like you want to be treated.”
Young people are also hopeful for the future and understand the difference they can make in influencing change and attitudes towards refugees.
“We need an understanding, because we are the future of our generation. We need … to make the world a better place for these people,” said Tania.
Ayesha agreed: “After this lesson I would definitely stand up for refugees.”
“Refugee resource is an important topic”
Naomi Barker, a teacher at Park High School, thinks it is a really important topic to teach her students about, too.
“We think teaching the refugee resource is a really important topic because it allows our young people to develop key skills such as empathy and resilience through looking at case studies.”
The students respond really well to the thought-provoking activities that facilitate discussion and are very relevant.
“They are really engaged and it is a brilliant opportunity to talk about something that is incredibly current,” Naomi said.
Red Cross teaching resources
We provide free online teaching resources for children and young people aged 5–19. Our resources focus on five themes that are all related to our work:
- refugees and migration
- humanitarianism and the Red Cross
- conflict and its consequences
- disasters and emergencies
- first aid and the bystander effect.
*The British Red Cross commissioned specialist youth researchers Platypus to interview over 900 10–19 year olds representative of the UK population. The purpose of the research was to find out about their understanding of and attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers.