Lesson plans for ages 9-11 in Civic Education: Refugee Children

Teaching Tools, 11 October 2006

© UNHCR/R.Hakozaki
Most of these Angolan refugees were born and grew up in refugee camps in western Zambia. When the violent conflict in their country ended, many returned home.

INTRODUCTION

Refugee children are people without a country, living in families without a home. Sometimes they no longer have a family. They are children without a childhood.

Every day, somewhere on this planet, children become refugees. They flee their countries because their lives are in danger. If they are lucky, they have space to pack a favourite book, a toy or a teddy bear. But often, there is no room in their baggage for such precious possessions no time to gather them. Sometimes refugee children escape only with their dreams.

As they flee conflict, hatred or persecution, they see horrible suffering. Sometimes they are abandoned in the panic, or are abused or forced to take sides in wars they do not understand. When they finally arrive somewhere safe they are scared, tired and hungry. They often find little food, little water. Only more danger.

They risk catching diseases that prey on those who are thin and weak. So in those first frightening months, they wonder how their dreams of a happy home and a normal life turned into a nightmare.

This unit of lessons has been designed to help young students to empathise with the plight of refugee children, to become aware that children from all over the world, have similar needs and to which they have a right to have answered. In lesson 1, the students will discover a situation that is experienced and endured by thousands of refugee children: the perilous flight from danger in their home country to a country of asylum, often without their parents. Through lessons 2 and 3, the students will become familiar with the notions of human needs, wants and rights.