Unit plan for ages 12-14 in Art: Repatriation and Graphic Communication


Refugees with their worldly possessions, which they will need to restart life back in Sierra Leone.  © UNHCR/E.Kanelstein



To recognise the difference between repatriation, local integration and permanent resettlement. To understand that refugees want to return to their own homes, in their own countries. To recognise the difficulties and possible dangers that refugees have to face when they return home. Skills To encourage students to use signs and symbols to convey a message. Values To empathise with returnees. To appreciate the blessings of having a home and a homeland.

LESSON 1: Going home


Definition of a refugee: Refugees are people who flee their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. A refugee either cannot return home, or is afraid to do so.

Setting the scene: Ask the students to consider what makes a place "home"?

They are then asked to give their impressions about who refugees are.

Video: Show the video DVD, Global View 2006, produced by UNHCR, which highlights the main areas of conflicts around the world which have caused people to flee their homes. The DVD also shows examples of repatriation.

Discussion questions about the video: These questions deal with the issues of repatriation: What are some of the worries that refugees have about returning home? What should the ideal situation in the home country be like before refugees go home?


Afghan refugees crossing back from Pakistan through the Chaman border crossing.   © UNHCR/N.Behring

DVD: Global View 2006, the short version (Geneva, UNHCR, 2006), available free of charge, from the UNHCR Public Affairs Unit, Case Postale 2500 CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt, Suisse.

A selection of the web videos could be used as an alternative or a supplement to the DVD, Global View 2006.

Suggested readings for the teacher:

UNHCR's Angola repatriation operation draws to a close with last flight

Gary Perkins, "Bright spot in Africa", Refugees, no. 97 (Geneva, UNHCR, 1994)

Refugees no. 99, "Regional Solutions" (Geneva, UNHCR, 1995)

UNHCR, The State of the World's Refugees 1995: In Search of Solutions (Oxford, OUP, 1995), The right to return (p. 61, 150-151).

Robert Clement, The Art Teacher's Handbook (Cheltenham, Stanley Thorne, 1993), p. 99

LESSON 2: Picking up the pieces



Planning the sequence of drawings. Link to previous lesson: In the light of the video watched during the previous lesson, students are asked to think again about the possible themes that they could incorporate into their sequence of drawings of encouragement for repatriation.

Planning their drawings. Students need to individually consider: How many pictures are needed to make a sequence? How are the pictures to be presented - linearly, in a circle, etc? What is each picture supposed to represent? What signs and symbols are needed in the pictures to convey the message?


The Liberian refugees cross the Nihon River separating Côte d'Ivoire and their homeland.   © UNHCR/J.Djitro

Robert Clement, The Art Teacher's Handbook (Cheltenham, Stanley Thorne, 1993), p. 99

LESSONS 3 and 4: Getting on with life



Drawing the repatriation sequence.

The teacher should move between students, encouraging them with their ideas and with the technical execution of their planned drawings.

Under its house-building programme, UNHCR provides tool kits and construction items like beams and window frames, while beneficiaries contribute most of the labour.  © UNHCR/L.Slezic/Global Aware