The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has launched a kit to support education about refugees in Italian schools. The initiative was launched to mark World Teachers' Day on October 5.
The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in Italy has launched a kit to support education about refugees in schools across the country. The launch of the material coincided with World Teachers' Day, which is held annually on October 5.
According to a UNHCR statement, the kit called 'Insegnare il tema dei rifugiati' (Teaching the theme of refugees), includes programs for lessons, activities, videos and additional material on refugees, asylum, migration and statelessness for primary and secondary schools.
The aim of the kit is to help teachers explain to their students about the phenomenon of forced migration and its complexity.
The kit begins by presenting children with a series of easy to understand cartoons. The pictures are designed to get children thinking about how much words count and help them grapple with key concepts surrounding the theme of refugees.
The kit takes them through discussion topics, in order to find out answers to questions like: "Who are refugees? What does the word migrant mean? Who are asylum seekers? What does the expression 'internally displaced' mean?"
The videos also explain where refugees come from and where they are staying, as well as their rights and which organizations are assisting them.
Different material for different ages
Subsequently, teachers are offered three packages with didactic material for various age groups. The packages for primary schools focus on learning socio-emotional skills and offer content exclusively suitable to this age group.
Packages for secondary schools widen the terminology concerning refugees, asylum and migration and offer class activities aimed at promoting a more in-depth knowledge of the themes, creating empathy, understanding facts and numbers and, finally, developing critical thinking.
Students are also encouraged to research the subject and even undertake acts in order to support refugees, if they wish.
The kit was translated into Italian and other languages from the English version developed by UNHCR at a global level.
'Necessary to understand the condition of refugees'
"At a time when the number of people fleeing war, violence and persecution has reached record levels and with the media and internet providing plenty of information on the theme, it becomes even more necessary to understand the condition of those who are forced to abandon their homes, in order to welcome them when they arrive", said Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR representative for Italy, the Holy See and San Marino.
"A society that knows how to welcome and include is a society that knows how to protect. In this sense, the kit for teachers is also an important tool of protection," Cardoletti concluded.