Bringing current issues into the classroom

20 Jun 2016

3 mins
Boya Boya film still
Boya Boya film still

The number of refugees in the world has reached the highest levels ever recorded, according to figures published by the United Nations (UN). With a record high 65 million people forced to flea their homes, surpassing even post-World War II numbers, we believe it's important that young people have the opportunity to explore the wider context of such critical issues.

Using film can be an effective way of contextualising real-world issues like the refugee crisis, offering easy to digest explorations of the topics at hand, and helping promote understanding, reflection and discussion.

For this year's Refugee Week (20 - 26 June) we created a brand new resource, that helps teachers and club leaders use film as a stimulus to discuss the hardships and resilience of refugees around the globe. Our Refugee Week Shorts resource contains guides to two short documentary films, Hamsa and Boya Boya (Shine Shine), and includes questions and activities to encourage learners to reflect on why people seek sanctuary in other countries.

Through films, the stories and struggles of refugees are brought to life. They allow us to put ourselves into the rickety boats that cross the Mediterranean. To hear the sound of gunfire in the streets. And to begin to imagine what it feels like to finally find safety and begin to rebuild a life.

Judith Dennis, Refugee Council

Other films on our catalogue that explore issues surrounding refugees include: Leave to Remain, based on the true stories of a group of teenagers seeking asylum in the UK; In This World, a drama that depicts two Afghani cousins trying to get to England from a camp in Pakistan, tracing a route used by real life refugees; and Moving to Mars, a documentary about immigration that focuses on two Burmese families who relocate to Sheffield from a Thai refugee camp.

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