Posted by: Marita Thomson | June 18, 2007

Refugee Week 2007 – 17th – 23rd June

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This year’s theme is Voices of Young Refugees. The Refugee Council of Australia has lots of ideas for celebrating this week, but one thing you can do is read about the real experiences of young refugees and  those imaginative stories which have been based on true stories.

Our Year 7s have just read Little Brother by Allan Baillie, a story set in Cambodia during the terrible years of terror in the 1970s. Baillie based the story on a young boy he met at a refugee camp and tells vividly what it must have been like to lose family and home and to have to survive as a young child in such a hostile environment. To read more about the background to this story see the links from Seven Magic.

For more reading suggestions about refugees see this junior reading list on Library Thing, or check the library catalogue.

David Goldie’s interactive documentary Long Journey, Young Lives uses video interviews with children and young people who came to Australia as refugees, and with Australian born children, to try to recreate the experience of having to leave one’s country and the long hard journey which leads to a new one.

For Refugee Week Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)  has put together pictures and text which recreate the experience of living long term in a camp waiting to be allowed into a new home country – see Virtual Refugee Camp.

To catch up with a family who came to Australia from Vietnam in the seventies see Cuc Lam’s Suitcase, a 4-5 minute video in a series called National Treasures. It tells the story of a couple who came to Australia with just one possession – now displayed in Melbourne’s Immigration Museum.

Finally, teachers might like to investigate The Learning Federation learning object called The Journey of Hong Hai which recreates the journey of Vietnamese refugees escaping by boat in September and November 1978. (Available through CASTnet.)

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