Read the article ‘A place of welcome and peace’ and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. What is a refugee? What is the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker?
2. What photos of the war in Iraq have you seen? Could you imagine what it would be like to live in a war zone? Reflect on how your concerns and worries would change if your country had become a war zone and you had to flee for safety?
3. What is Catholic Social Teaching? How is Our Lady of the Rosary school living out Catholic Social Teaching?
4. Our Lady of Rosary school has put into place special services for refugee students and their parents. Why is it important that schools that accept refugees take seriously refugee students' and their parent's particular needs?
5. One parent at Our Lady of the Rosary School was extremely grateful for what the school had given to his child, especially that he learned to read English. The parent said, 'This is all I wanted for my child, and it’s even better than I ever imagined’.
a. What do you think it would be like to be a parent living in a war zone, where it is not safe for your children to attend school?
b. Most parents hope that their child will receive a good education? How is this hope different for refugee families?
1. Liturgy for refugees: Organise a liturgy for your class or school using our ‘Liturgy for refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people’. You can find it here.
2. Against all odds: Play the refugee video game ‘Against all Odds’, which simulates the experience of a being an asylum seeker. Write a short reflection on what you learned while playing this game.
3. Just voices speakers: Invite a speaker from Jesuit Social Services’ program ‘Just Voices Speakers’ to speak at your school or parish. Learn more about how to host a speaker here.
4. National Week of Prayer and Action: To stand in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers during CAPSA's National Week of Prayer and Action, organise an event at your school. Find out how you can get involved here.
For younger students
Teachers can discuss what the terms refugee and asylum seeker mean with their class, and explore the different reasons people seek asylum. To help students understand why people may flee their home countries, read the story ‘Boy Overboard’ by Morris Gleitzman. The first chapter of the book is available online. Teachers can find it here.
As a class discuss, the story with your students. Teachers can share a bit of background on life in Afghanistan.
Teachers can find student-friendly facts about Afghanistan at:
Scholastic's 'Kids in Afghanistan'
National Geographic Kids: Afghanistan
Students can then write a prayer for children seeking asylum. When they are finished, students can write their prayer neatly on a piece of paper and decorate it.
Each student can read their prayer to the class during the National Week of Prayer and Action or on World Refugee Day.