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World Refugee Day – 20th June, 2011

 World Refugee Day, a phenomenal day in the history of mankind, is meant to remind the world about needs and basic rights of refugees. These are people who have been uprooted from their homes and occupations due to the ravages of war, and have to struggle every day to survive. Celebrated every year on the 20th of June, the highlight of this day is to raise awareness about the destitute and impoverished state of refugees across the globe.

The United Nations Refugee Agency selects a theme every year and the celebrations begin in accordance to the theme. This year commemorates the significance of the most indispensable aspect of any person’s life – home.

 Why World Refugee Day Is Celebrated?

 The United Nations gives utmost priority to observe the World Refugee Day as it is an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding about the plight of refugees in war-torn countries. It came into being in 2001, which was also the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees. Although many countries had their own dates and interpretation of World Refugee Day before, it was only after the year 2000 that regularity and consistency was introduced on an international platform. June 20th was selected in concurrence with the Refugee Day in Africa, as it is unanimously believed that no country has survived the ravages of war more than this remarkable nation.

How Is It Celebrated?

 Since it came into being only in the last decade, people across the world have a modern take on its celebration. From rock concerts organized by the cream of the film fraternity to memorial services, village festivities and school events, everything has an element of deep modernity attached to it. Everyone contributes in their own compassionate manner, offering their sincere support, respect and wishes to the displaced population.

 World Refugee Day with Children

 It is crucial to help young children understand and comprehend the plight of refugees across the globe. This will introduce a completely different side of life to them and they will begin to appreciate their comforts and conveniences. World Refugee Day can be celebrated in the classroom in the following manner:

 1)      Speak to your students on the state of refugees’ and ask them to reflect on their own lives and how it’s different.

2)      Organize a fundraiser in your school. Let your students make art work, handicrafts or donate any of their excess items to this noble cause. You can extend money from sales to the various charities supporting refugees.

3)      Ask children to write essays on how they can help make the world a better place for refugees.

4)      Initiate a colour code for students on World Refugee Day. Light blue, which is the colour of the uniform worn by UN aid workers, is adopted on 20th June with respect to the work that UN workers undertake.

5)      Organize a play in class that will touch upon the concepts of war and refugees.

6)      Invite an UN aid worker to speak about his/her experience in a country while caring for the refugees and how everyone can contribute towards supporting them.

7)      Read books that describe refugee life and the challenges that refugees face both before leaving their homeland and once they settle in a new country like Four Feet, Two Sandals ,  A True Person or My name is Sangoel

 Contribute in your own thoughtful manner to alleviate the sufferings of refugees. As the great Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The change begins with you and me.”

 Article written by Annie Besant on behalf of Global Kids Oz

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