On May 22 in PeaceLab a workshop about forced migration took place. Members of Kopin conducted interactive classes for 3 groups of students from Verdala International School, between 12-14 years of age, who came for a visit to PeaceLab.
Activities were designed to make youngsters more aware about everyday struggle of migrants who decided to cross the borders to find safe and better living conditions. After presenting the fictitious story of a family forced to flee, several activities related were carried out. The students were given the opportunity to interact between themselves and work together on various tasks, including one in which students had to decide which family members should leave their homeland in order to find a shelter. Moreover, students had to justify their choice, what made them think about advantages and disadvantages of each choice. They also had to consider what they should take with them and why, taking into account a long, exhausting journey through desert. Afterwards, there was a role play conducted to put students in migrants’ shoes and to make them go through difficulties that they may face. The exercise consisted of confronting students as fiction migrant family on the state border, with a border guard questioning all students’ arguments and convictions, so that they would feel the insecurity resulting from the suspicious treatment from guards towards those, who are seeking asylum.
At the end, a brief discussion of the workshops stressed the purpose of conducting such activities. It helped students to work with feelings which bothered them during the tasks, such as anxiety, frustration or feeling of injustice. During the discussion, it was attempted also to focus students’ attention on more complex issues. They were expected to consider desirable attitude of host countries towards migrants and refugees, how migrants could be involved and adjusted to hosting societies or what are strengths and challenges in a diverse communities.
The workshops ran smoothly and the students were very concerned. They voiced their truly mature opinions, listened to each other and were able to share solutions among themselves that is a very promising trend for the future.
Article by Agata Boimska