As part of our Wednesday Enrichment afternoon our secondary students participated in a refugee simulation activity organised by the local charity MEDAIR.
Firstly the students were informed about this worldwide humanitarian crisis and the plight of refugees and displaced persons, with some shocking up-to-date statistics concerning the amount of people being forced to flee their homes and their subsequent ordeals.
After hearing this and having established ‘family’ travelling groups the role-play commenced. The students had to register with the UNCHR to collect a fingerprinted identity card, have a medical check, sell their possessions to raise cash, obtain water, food coupons and buy essentials. They also had to trudge down the lane with all of their possessions to a military check point, where after severe scrutiny by officials, they were not allowed to pass through and sent straight back again. Later on they had to negotiate the purchase of cheap building materials and make themselves a shelter.
The objective of this complex and frustrating exercise was to help the students understand and empathise with the millions of people, the majority of whom are under the age of 20, who suffer in this way everyday.
From the questions and discussions that followed at the plenary session, the students obviously found this a valuable exercise and will be following up in the coming weeks with ideas of what we could possibly do to make life less traumatic for those in need.
Many thanks to the MEDAIR team and volunteers for what proved to be a very successful day.