Title: Refugees 221

Key Words: refugees, host country

National Standard: 9 (Characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth)

State Standard: 13 (The impact of human systems on Earth's surface)

Teaching Level: Middle School

Introduction: People become refugees for political and economic reasons. When they leave their country , they are under stressful conditions. Often, they arrive to a host country with little more than they can carry and, therefore, place somewhat of a burden on the receiving country. This lesson explores how the presence of refugees affects people and places.

Objective: Students will describe the impact of the refugee problem on host cities, towns, schools, and families.

Materials: Atlases
Pictures from news magazines or newspapers that show refugees
Handout: Bringing the Refugee Problem Home
Handout: Reference Sheet of Headlines and Captions

Write these words on the board: confused, helpless, miserable, tired, frustrated, dejected, hungry, poor. Ask students which group of people could this list of adjectives describe. (refugees)

Ask students to guess how many people in the world today are refugees. (over 15 million)

Define refugee: a person who flees his country to another for safety, protection. or the hope of a better life. Ask if anyone has seen a movie, read a book, or seen a TV report about refugees. Share thoughts.

Have students pair up for a minute or two in order to generate a list of reasons why people become refugees. Share ideas with the class. Compile a list. The list could include: fear for their lives, caught in the crossfire of civil war, famine, religious persecution, discrimination, war destroyed land, home, or crops, political oppression, search for opportunity.

If possible show pictures of refugees from news magazines or newspapers to help students visualize the conditions endured, the facial expressions, the lack of possessions.

Use the handout Reference Sheet of Headlines and Captions to further students' understanding of refugee issues.

Use atlases to answer the question: "Where do refugees go?" Explain that the choice is often the closest, safest country, and the mode of transportation is by foot, truck, or small boat.
Have students study maps to find the closest countries for each group of refugees: Vietnamese, Afghans, Haitians, Cubans, Palestinians.
Have students generate a list of questions and concerns the host nations might have when large numbers of refugees arrive.
Questions and concerns might include: space, food, medical care, legal issues, effects on the population, social problems, economic issues, moral support, spiritual needs, language barriers, and clothing needs.

Allow students to work in groups of two or three for this assignment: Bringing the Refugee Problem Home. The purpose of this activity is to help students realize that the presence of even a few refugees in a town will have an impact.

Debrief. Ask a few groups to give an oral report on one or more issues brought up by the activity.

Draw conclusions. Some examples are: Refugees are forced to leave their homeland for many reasons.
Refugees place themselves in great danger or hardship to make the trip to the host nation, and continue to have hardships once they arrive.
Refugees place a strain on the host nations, cities, or towns when too many arrive at once.

Some countries, because of their locations, are more affected than other countries. Refugees look for the closest, safest places.

Evaluation/Assessment: Students write a newspaper editorial expressing an opinion on the refugee issues faced by countries, cities, or towns.

Write a story about the plight of a refugee. Show knowledge about why refugees leave their homeland, the problems they face and whether or not they can go back home.

Draw or paint a portrait of a refugee in either realistic or abstract style. Attempt to show emotions. A series of portraits could show the changes from escape to resettlement or return home.

Extension/Enrichment: Do further research on a specific group of refugees: Palestinians,, Soviet Georgians, Kurds, Afghans, Sri Lankans, tribes from Burundi, Liberians, etc.

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.
Thank you,
The authors

Handout: Bringing The Refugee Problem Home

Pretend your family has taken in a refugee your age and gender. The refugee comes from a country in Southeast Asia.
Decide on a response to each of the following questions.

1. What do you want to know about the refugee? Can you trace the path
that led to your home?
2. What do you think the refugee wants to know about you?
3. What do you think you could learn from the refugee?
4. Would you agree to share your room?
5. Other questions?

1. What kinds of family activities should you do?
2. How much of a financial burden do you think the refugee will place on the family?
3. How will your family try to make the refugee feel welcome and at ease?
4. Other questions?

1. Do you think your neighbors will object to a refugee in town?
2. Which town ordinances should the refugee know about?
3. What would a tour of the town consist of?
4. Are there any organizations or groups in town that help welcome people or help with counseling refugees?
5. Other questions?

1. What does the refugee need to know about school?
2. What does the school need to know about the refugee?
3. Should the school have to hire a special aide?
4. Would prejudice be a problem in your school?
5. How would the school or you help the refugee understand things like getting lunch, using the rest room, lockers..?

What if?
What if your town plans to build a resettlement center for refugees and the program will take from 50 to 100 refugees. Make a list of questions or concerns.
What if the refugee your family took in wants to find out how he or she can bring another family member or the remaining family to live with you? What would you do?

Handout: Reference Sheet of Headlines and Captions

(Headlines are capitalized; captions are not)

April 1991
Rebels Say Troops Wiped Out Village
A Kurdish refugee who made it to Turkey claims the burns on his face were caused by an Iraqi phosphorous bomb.

April 1991
Puppets for Peace
Hutu and Tutsi children watch a puppet show at a camp for displaced Burundians yesterday. The show, sponsored by UNICEF, was intended to help kids overcome ethnic rivalries.

March 1992
U.S. Advising Boat People to Go Home
Refugees told few will be admitted.

March 1989
A small boat carries a load of Vietnamese arrived in the British colony of Hong Kong recently.
Hong Kong authorities say the number of boat people arriving has suddenly increased.

April 1991
U.S. Planes Drop Food to Refugees
Kurds want protection from Saddam.

A Kurdish girl, soaked from the rain and covered in mud, looks out on a refugee camp on the Iraqi border yesterday. Overnight snow and rain have worsened the conditions of refugees fleeing Iraq.

Kurds ambush Iraqi forces in mountains.

Turkish police battle starving Kurd refugees.

Two Kurdish women shelter their children in the mountains.

Kurdish refugees slowly work their way down a steep hillside near the Iran-Iraq border as they flee the regime of Saddam Hussein.
July 1990
Thousands Seek Permission to Move to Britain
At least 50 people camped out during the night to join the throng applying to get out, (out of Hong Kong). 30,000 apply to escape communism.
April 1991
Turkey Seeks Help to Take in Refugees
Starving- refugees grope for food at a camp on the Turkish border. At least 300,000 Iraqis fleeing attacks or fearing reprisals by Iraqi forces after a failed Kurdish rebellion, massed along the Turkish-Iraqi border over the past week.

April 1991
To an Early Grave
The caretaker of the mosque in Cukurca, Turkey, near one of the refugee camps, carries the body of a dead refugee baby after readying it for burial. Refugees estimate that 20 people are dying each day in the camp.

Children who lost their families in the Rwanda massacres arrive at a new orphanage in Goma, Zaire yesterday.

August 1995
Battered, Bruised Refugees Struggle Across Serb Border
A Croatian Serb family in a tractor waits to leave Croatia yesterday near the town of Sisak, 31 miles southeast of Zagreb. Thousands of Croatian Serb refugees are still waiting to leave the area taken by Croats in last week's offensive.

November 1991
A six year old boy sits in the rubble of a hotel room in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia. Federal troops shelled the Croatian city for the third straight day. Yugoslavia faces European sanctions if it does not accept a proposal to turn the country into a loose association of sovereign states.

June 1989
Asia Flooded with Latest Wave of Boat People
"Last train" mentality grips refugees

Boat People Terrorized by Pirates
A full load of Vietnamese boat people arrives recently in Hong Kong, an area overcrowded with refugees.

Late 1980s
Refugees, Causalities and War Stories Pour into Pakistan from Afghanistan
The refugees bring with them horrible stories of war. One woman I heard about was opening up a sack of flour to fix breakfast for her family when a mine hidden in the sack by a Soviet agent exploded.

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