This week marks World Refugee Week, and today, World Refugee Day 2018. With countless news pieces on the global refugee crisis in the media, this year, marking the event seems particularly important. In fact, the theme for this World Refugee Day 2018 is “Now More Than Ever, We Need to Stand with Refugees”.

But what concern is this to professionals in education, you might ask? Quite a lot, actually. According to the latest statistics, 52% of the world’s refugees are children. Refugees are five times less likely to attend school. 50% of refugee children manage to attend primary school, while only 22% attend secondary school. The UNHCR predicts that 12,000 additional classrooms and 20,000 additional teachers will be needed - annually.

So how can you stand with refugees in your day-to-day job? It could be argued that there are many ways that Teachers and Support Staff alike can stand with refugees. And it all starts with education! The Guardian recently shared an article about a project that a school carried out about refugees, which helped pupils develop empathy. Educating students about the refugee crisis is certainly one step to helping them understand the problem.

The Refugee Week website offers classroom resources suitable for both primary and secondary aged students. You might also want to look at books such as 'Boy Overboard' by Morris Gleitzeman, 'Welcome to Nowhere' by Elizabeth Laird and 'Who Are Refugees and Migrants?' By Michael Rosen. Make sure that there are books and resources on refugees available in your school’s library for students to use.

Providing sufficient educational material on refugees can go a long way to making an impact and changing the attitudes of your students. And why is this important? Because the students in your class could be tomorrow’s leaders. Nelson Mandela sums it up better than most: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

Find out more about World Refugee Week here.

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