The plight of refugees forced to leave their families, friends and homes to escape war and persecution and what it feels like to start a new life in a very different country and culture is being investigated by children at Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate.
To help them with their research and writing, the Year 6 pupils were visited by Fawzia Nabi-Worsley from Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) to explain more about the experience of modern refugees.
KRAN works with separated young refugee and asylum seekers also known as UASC’s (unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee minors). These are young people aged 16 to 24 who have arrived in Kent alone and are claiming asylum. Around 80% of them are boys.
She said: “The aim is to give our young people a real awareness of what it means to be a refugee and how we are helping them adjust to their new lives.”
The discussion with the Year 6 pupils ties in with their work in English where they are studying a graphic novel by Shaun Tan called The Arrival.
It tells a universal story of immigration. The story is about a man leaving his home to find work and support his family. It conveys messages of solitude, alienation, and hope in a foreign land.
Lead teacher for English Hannah Pullen said: “Our pupils are looking at life through the eyes of a refugee in their creative writing. They will also be creating a diary of the refugee’s journey from their home to the UK on a boat trip as they leave everything behind.”
Head Teacher Cliff Stokes said: “This is a valuable experience for our Year 6 children. As well as challenging them to research and write about the refugee situation it also encourages them to think about what drives people to take the desperate risks to seek safety and a new life.
“There is so much news about the refugees travelling across the Channel and being found off the Kent coast – the idea is that our pupils will examine the real story and how we, with compassion and understanding, find out more than just what we see in a news headline or on television.”