Telling about refugees – why and how?

During my time here as EU Aid Volunteer I realized how important it is to raise awareness about the conditions of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) outside the region, and particularly in Europe. The issue should not be a matter solely for the news. I mean, the news tend to focus on the ‘extraordinary’ and change their focus very quickly. When they choose to talk about Syrian conflict it is usually because some devastating battles, horrible executions and more-terrible-than-usual bloodshed.

What I think should be given more space is daily life of IDPs and refugees. People struggle to relate with unbearable scenes from battlefields or executions, but would empathise more with difficulties refugees/IDPs have to face when trying to settle down in a new countries. Fleeing home with little or no luggage, surviving with meagre means, having troubles with legal registration or access to education, fearing inclement weather because of the makeshift shelter, lacking access to safe water and sanitation are issues that public opinion should be informed about. They would probably feel closer and react differently also to internal political debate over the issue.

And also kids in schools should be involved. Concepts such as ‘refugees’ and ‘IDPs’ or ‘human rights’ ought to enter classrooms per se, but also included in other subjects. Everything can be explained to pupils, if done in the right way. Role games, images, open discussions, group activities can be very useful to talk about refugee status. I believe school curriculum’s main aim is not to fill children’s brain with static knowledge, but to give them as many instruments as possible to interpret current events, and equip them with critical skills they can rely on in the future, in order to become educated and active citizens.

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