Migrants and refugees: do you really know them?
The value of diversity
The specific and general objectives of the session are the following:
- to increase the knowledge about the terms “refugee” and “migrant”
- to develop the consideration about migrants and refugees
- to break prejudices about perception of migrants and refugees
The expected outcomes on the target groups are the following:
- to stimulate understanding about what it is like to have to flee own home
- to foster empathy with refugees and asylum seekers
Number of participants: 8-20 people
(1 - very easy, 5 - very difficult)
The degree of expertise needed - 3
The amount of work to prepare and implement the scenario - 2
The relative overall cost predicted - 2
1 h 15 min
Room with capacity for 20 people, seating arrangement, tables
Copies of the article "Refugee or Migrant - word choice matters" (Annex 1) for each participants, Cards about “famous” refugees (Annex 2), smartphones with internet connection (optional)
The facilitator should read the article "Refugee or Migrant - word choice matters" (Annex 1) to understand the difference between those two groups.
The facilitator should prepare cards about famous migrants or refugees (make a copy of Annex 2). Examples provided in annex 2 can be enriched by adding other well-known migrants or refugees who lived or still live in your country.
Throughout history, everywhere in the world, individuals or entire populations have had to abandon their homes to escape persecution, armed conflict and violence.
Refugees are people who, before being forced to flee, had a family, a home, a job. Among them there are many famous and important persons who during their lifetime were forced to escape from their country of origin.
We are surrounded by so many famous immigrants and refugees even if we do not care.
Migratory flows are part of human history, and it is strange to think that there is still someone in the world who praises the closure of borders as a solution to the problem of people's migration. Let us stop thinking once more that if the logic of who is against immigration prevailed and wants to arm the borders, we would never have people like Freddie Mercury … It is possible to list many other famous characters among intellectuals, musicians, artists or scientists who have been forced to abandon their country due to poverty, wars and persecution.
Stage 1: Debate about the differences between migrants and refugees (20 min)
The facilitator begins the debate about differences between migrants and refugees in order to test participants knowledge and perceptions by asking following questions:
1) In your opinion, ”migrant” and ”refugee” are synonymous terms?
2) Do you know the definition of the term ”migrant”?
3) If yes, which kind of migrants do you know?
4) Do you know the definition of the term ”refugee”?
5) If yes, which kind of refugees do you know?
After the debate, the facilitator delivers to each participant a copy of the article "Refugee or Migrant - word choice matters" (Annex 1). He/she asks one volunteer to read it aloud.
Stage 2: Who am I? Guess the “famous” migrant or refugee (40 min)
The facilitator proposes participants to strengthen their knowledge about migrants and refugees. After the knowledge of terms, it is important to know that migrants or refugees are not necessarily poor people with a low education.
It is possible to list many famous characters among intellectuals, musicians, artists or scientists who have been forced to abandon their country due to poverty, wars and persecution.
The facilitator asks 4 participants (volunteers) to became the “famous” people. He/she delivers them a card with the name and the history of a well-known migrant or refugee (Annex 2).
Other participants, individually or divided in groups, try to discover his/her name by using YES / NO / DO NOT KNOW questions.
The group can choose who, from the 4 famous characters, should answer their question. Groups ask the question one by one.
If the participants need some extra help, the facilitator can allow them to use their smartphone with internet connection in order to find more information.
If necessary, extra time could be allowed.
After the game, a final debate should be conducted based on following questions: (15 min)
- Have you learnt something new during this activity?
- Which famous person has been more difficult to guess?
- Did you know that these famous persons were migrants or refugees?
- Do you know well-known migrants or refugees who reached your country?
Presence lists, evaluation forms (if required)
Refugee or Migrant - word choice matters. ©UNHCR, By Adrian Edwards, Geneva
“Nei panni dei rifugiati. Percorso a schede sui diritti d’asilo”. Fondazione Centro Astalli - Onlus
Ideas for action
If among participants migrants or refugees are present, the facilitator can ask them to share their history
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