Teachers need to take care when using these materials. Students who have had traumatic experiences may find some of these activities disturbing.
Australian Curriculum links
Compare texts including media texts that represent ideas and events in different ways, explaining the effects of the different approaches (ACELY1708)
Global population, wealth and health is unevenly distributed
- Ethical behaviour
- Intercultural understanding
- Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
Students develop an awareness of the needs of refugees by imagining an experience of being forced to leave home to seek safety.
Reflect on a time when you packed up to leave (eg going on a holiday, moving house). What did you take? How long did it take to get ready to leave?
Imagine you have to leave home in a hurry in fear, the roads are blocked and you cannot use your phone or electricity.
- What will take? (Remember: you have a short time to pack, you will have to carry your bag and there may be few other resources to help you until you reach safety.)
- Where will you go?
- How will you travel?
Use current news reports from a conflict area to expand your ideas.
Develop four mind maps showing how being forced to leave home in a hurry would affect your:
List the support you might need. Where would you get that support and how easy would it be to obtain?
Discuss how likely you might be to receive the required support if you lived in a different country or belonged to a minority group.
Write a diary, collect some photos or make drawings with short statements describing the experience of leaving home in fear to escape conflict and travelling to a place of safety.
Write a reflection on the experience and list three ways you might change your behaviour when you hear of refugee stories in the media in the future.
Students examine the definition of refugees and research current events that highlight refugee issues.
Brainstorm words you associate with 'refugees'.
Compare your lists in a small group and write a definition of the word ‘refugee’.
Contrast your definition of refugee with the UN Refugee Convention definition in the Introduction to the Refugees global issue.
Examine the definitions of asylum seekers, internally displaced people and other ‘people of concern’ to the United Nations, using information in the Introduction to the Refugees global issue.
Collect television, newspaper or radio news items which mention refugees and asylum seekers.
Discuss in small groups:
- Is the word refugee always accurately applied? Why or why not?
- How is the protection of refugees presented?
- How are the rights of refugees being protected?
Survey ten people from varying backgrounds about their attitudes to the care offered to refugees in Australia, and the care offered to Australians who have been forced to leave their homes because of natural disasters.
Present your findings and suggest reasons for differences of opinion.
Students analyse life in a refugee camp as a way of addressing the needs of refugees.
Gain an insight into life in a refugee camp using resources such as 'Anatomy of a refugee camp' at www.cbc.ca/news/background/refugeecamp.
Outline the needs of refugees and how they are addressed.
Develop a 'life in a day of a refugee child' timeline with descriptions or drawings.
Imagine you are in charge of a refugee camp with about 1,000 people. Use the following as minimum requirements to determine the resources and personnel needed to provide for the refugees (Source: www.sphereproject.org):
- 15 litres of water (per person per day)
- 2,100 calories of food (per person per day)
- 1 toilet for 20 people
- a maximum walking distance of 50 minutes from shelter
- 1 tent or plastic sheeting for a family of 5
- immunisation against measles
Outline how goods will be transported to your camp 90 kilometres from the nearest town, accessed on a dirt road through hostile territory.
Discuss in small groups, with people in each group taking on the following roles – local government officials, water specialists, food specialists, healthcare specialists and community leaders:
- where to locate the refugee camp
- how to distribute resources if there is a shortage
- how to cope with the sudden influx or departure of people
- how to make sure those most vulnerable (women, children, the disabled, aged) are safe
- how to help people take control of their own lives as much as possible so they do not become dependent (eg grow own food, earn an income, continue education).
Compare your conclusions with other groups.
Students examine and interpret statistics about refugee numbers and explore the accuracy of common statements about refugees.
Predict which countries play the biggest part in caring for refugees. (Suggest at least three.) What differences might there be between developed and developing countries? Why?
Examine the figures in the following table to find out which fourteen countries in the world support the largest refugee populations, and how Australia compares with these.
Table 1: Numbers of refugees
|World ranking by total number of refugees||Country||Refugees||National wealth (GDP): $US per capita|
|Number of refugees per $1 GDP per capita (ie compared to national wealth)||Ranking of countries in table by number of refugees per $1 GDP per capita|
(1,900,621 ÷ 2500)
|2||Iran||1,073,366||$10,600|| || |
|3||Syria||1,005,472||$4,800|| || |
|4||Germany||594,269||$35,700|| || |
|5||Jordan||450,915||$5,400|| || |
|6||Kenya||402,905||$1,600|| || |
|7||Chad||347,939||$1,600|| || |
|8||China||300,986||$7,600|| || |
|9||United States||264,574||$47,200|| || |
|46||Australia||21,805||$41,000|| || |
UNHCR Global trends report 2010 available from www.unhcr.org/4dfb66ef9.html
CIA World Factbook www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook
Show the total numbers of refugees for these 14 countries as a column graph on a blank world map.
Complete the remaining columns of the table above:
- To calculate the figures for column 5, divide column 3 by column 4. This has been done for you for Pakistan.
- In column 6, rank the countries in the table from 1 to 15 according to the figures in column 5.
- To find out which countries are in the top 10 in the world when ranked in this way, see the graph at www.unhcr.org/4dfb66ef9.html.
- What do you notice about the different rankings in your completed table. What might this tell you about how statistics can be interpreted?
- What other ways of describing numbers of refugees could be used? For example, you might show them as a percentage of total population. What additional data and calculations would you need? You can find some examples of comparisons at www.asrc.org.au/media/documents/how-we-compare-internationally_.pdf.
- Which way of describing refugee numbers do you think is the most accurate and meaningful?
Review what impression these figures have on your perceptions of refugee issues.
Collect statements referring to refugees from media sources and use the collected statistics to evaluate their accuracy.
- Why general statements might use statistics inaccurately?
- Why accurate statistics on 'people of concern' populations are important?
Create a true/false quiz that provides an explanation of answers with referenced support from recognised humanitarian organisations.
Students learn about life in a refugee camp, and resettlement in Australia with a program assisting refugees to rebuild their lives.
Read the Burmese refugees case study.
Describe why Burmese ethnic groups have been forced to flee from their homes and where they find shelter.
Examine a recent map of refugee camps along the Thailand–Burma border from www.tbbc.org. Describe and discuss the distribution of camps along the border.
Calculate and measure the amount of food an adult would have to eat in one day.
Compare this to the food you eat in a day.
Measure the amount of floor space in a hut per person.
Compare this floor space to the amount you have in your home. (You will need to find out the total floor space and divide this by the number of people living there.)
Describe the difficulties refugees might face living in these camps.
Describe the difficulties camp organisers might face in providing for the needs of refugees.
Outline how the Community Agriculture and Nutrition project, the Longyi Weaving Project or the Karen Young Women’s Leadership School is supporting people’s ability to help themselves and maintain their culture.
Describe the issues preventing resolution of the situation and how the international community could be involved.
Create a presentation to show the problems faced by displaced Burmese people.
Investigate other programs run in Australia that support newly arrived refugees to settle in and rebuild their lives.
Discuss what actions you could take to address the needs and rights of refugees in Australia.