Lesson plans for ages 9-11 in Geography: Refugees - Who, Where and Why?


A young asylum seeker attending public school near an accommodation centre in the Moscow region.   © UNHCR


When UNHCR was first set up in 1951 and charged with the resettlement of European refugees left homeless in the aftermath of World War II, the number of refugees was in the realm of 1.2 million people. These refugees were usually resettled in another European country and became part of the community and citizens of the host country. In 2006, UNHCR was responsible for the protection of some 20.8 million people around the world. The break-up of this figure includes 8.4 million refugees, 773,500 asylum seekers, 6.6 million internally displaced people, 2.4 millian intenally displaced people, 960,400 people who fall under the category of 'others of concern' and 1.6 million returnees.

Through the activities in this unit, students will learn to differentiate between a refugee and other categories of migrants, and discover which countries are producing refugees, and which countries have become countries of asylum.