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Wollongong City Council

Students discover challenges of being a refugee

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Students at Illawarra High School Refugee Challenge
Image: Ernest Bukasa [left] and Skye Yeaman talk to students from the Illawarra Sports High School about the challenges facing refugees.

Wollongong City Council has partnered with Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra and Illawarra Sports High School students to gain an understanding of what it would be like to flee your country and leave everything behind.

It’s the fifth year students have been given the opportunity to participate in the Illawarra Refugee Challenge and learn about refugee experiences and journeys. The challenge helps students in years 9, 10 and 11 experience what a young refugee might endure before settling in a new country.

This year’s Challenge will be held at Illawarra Sports High School between 27—29 August.  At the Challenge, 22 Year 11 students who are studying Human Society and Its Environment [HSIE] will conduct tours for their fellow Year 9 and 10 peers.

Also participating in the Challenge this year are eight community members of refugee background who will help to deliver life experiences or their travels and life in refugee camps.

The Challenge consists of six semi-simulated stations in which the students and former refugees conduct discussions, scenarios and role playing. The students look at the reality of water and food supplies, sanitation and education in a refugee camp.

Council’s Manager Community Cultural and Economic Development Sue Savage said: “The challenge continues to be an innovative and insightful way for students and community members to gain an insight into the experiences and journeys of refugees. With community members with refugee backgrounds also providing their life experiences we can show students the daily reality of life in a refugee camp and in a city.”

Allyson Pazos, Youth & Community Manager with Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra, said: “The Challenge is an opportunity for students to facilitate, participate and learn about the challenges refugees face on their way to Australia. Collaborating with young people from refugee backgrounds who have made the Illawarra their home, brings the learning experience closer to reality and connects young people from different cultural backgrounds.”

For more information contact Council’s Customer Service on (02) 4227 7111