Nearly half of all people forced to flee war, violence and persecution are children, and their schools and teachers play a vital role in providing hope for their future.
On World Refugee Day, 20 June, and as proud sponsors of the Refugee Council of Australia’s Refugee Week, Federation asks you to always make refugees and asylum-seeker students and families feel welcome in your communities, by reaching out and showing compassion.
There are now more people under international protection today than at any other point in time since World War II. In the past decade, the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes has more than doubled.
UNHCR’s Global Trends: Forced displacement in 2022 report states “the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide was estimated as being 108.4 million as of the end of 2022”, and it’s rising. This figure “encompasses refugees (including refugees who are not covered by UNHCR’s mandate), asylum seekers, internally displaced people and other people in need of international protection”.
People are refugees by circumstance – not choice – with ongoing war, violence and persecution preventing them from safely returning to their country of origin. With the world unable to find lasting peace, nor able to find adequate solutions for all who are forced to flee, offering hope, settlement and safety to those refugees living within our communities is paramount to improving outcomes for those who manage to make Australia home.
“Finding Freedom”, the Refugee Council of Australia’s theme for Refugee Week 2023, is based on the premise that “freedom allows all of us to live without war and conflict, to feel safe from persecution, to have our basic human rights respected and to feel like we belong – free to live, love and dream”.
By including refugees, valuing their contributions, celebrating their strength and resilience and supporting them to rebuild their lives after fleeing conflict and persecution, you are facilitating the most effective way to help them restart their lives. Only after finding safety and belonging can refugees find their “freedom”, so critical to their settlement and so necessary for them to thrive.
Schools and TAFE campuses are being encouraged to host Refugee Week activities and events that help to celebrate freedom and unify public education communities.
Share your highlights by posting pics and tagging @teachersfed @OzRefugeeCounc #Finding Freedom #RefugeeWeekAU
Check out these resources
- Refugee Council of Australia’s Teachers’ Resource Kit
- Official Refugee Week 2023 poster
- SBS video What is Refugee Week and why is it marked annually in Australia?
- Refugee Council of Australia – Refugee Week 2023
- Department of Education From Displacement to Freedom
- Focus on refugees and VET
- UNHCR Teaching about Refugees