To mark Refugee Week 2015, fifteen enthusiastic Gymea Technology High School Year 10 leaders, together with leaders from Menai High School, conducted the “Refugee Camp at School” simulation over three days in the last week of Term 2. Channel 7 media personality Andrew O’Keefe, immersed himself in the challenge, joining a student family group and completing the whole journey. Our leaders set up seven interactive stations including food and water tents, an education facility, a medical clinic and a detention centre. Hands-on activities replicated the struggles that millions of people who are forced to flee their own countries because of persecution are challenged with every year.
Over two hundred students from Menai, Gymea, Kirrawee, and Engadine High Schools were led by our Year 10 students through the Refugee Challenge. The forty Year 10 Gymea students who were invited to participate in this unique experience actively engaged in the journey. They took on the identity of the refugee group they were randomly allocated to and were faced with the task of finding family members, building shelter and planning their journey to refuge. The leaders and student participants came away feeling informed, with a greater knowledge of the facts about refugees. The program links to the HSIE curriculum, particularly to the Year 10 History topic-Rights and Freedoms and the Year 10 Geography topic- Human Rights.
Keep an eye out for Andrew O’Keefe’s story, to be aired on Weekend Sunrise within the next couple of weeks.