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Raising Awareness about Refugees
 

Raising Awareness about Refugees

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Overview of the student refugee program, the shine a light program, and the issues they aim to tackle

Overview of the student refugee program, the shine a light program, and the issues they aim to tackle

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  • Congratulations great work !!! .. Thanks for sharing ! …Environmental, save the planet, conserve and protect nature, awareness globally,,are a few goals of ’GREAT CAUSE and JUST CAUSES’ Group. (au sens large du terme) Very nice... Great work ! !Thanks for sharing,. Best regards . Bernard (France) Do not hesitate to reference your slideshows on the group ’’GREAT CAUSES and JUST CAUSES ’. Thank

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  • Welcome to WUSC’s refugee awareness webtrain! This is a tool for educating your local committee about WUSC's Student Refugee Program and the reasons why it is so important. Each slide contains speaking notes that will help guide you through your presentation. You don’t need to follow them exactly, but they do fill in some important details. Beginning with an icebreaker activity is a great way to capture your audience’s interest from the get-go. We’ve included some ideas below, but feel free to use your own! Keep in mind the size of your group, their level of awareness, and your time limitations. Ask each person in the room to introduce themselves with their name, academic program and year, how they came to be involved with WUSC, or why they’re interested in learning about refugee issues. Start with yourself and your committee, and work your way around the room. Present a short clip from a film (See WUSC’s database for ideas. On option is the CBC documentary “The Lucky Ones” about WUSC sponsored students.) You may want to prepare some questions for a short discussion of the clip afterwards (what issues it raises etc). Thought experiment activity: Seeking refuge – what will you take with you? Separate students into groups of 3-5. Begin by telling everyone that each group is a family, and an attack on their home is imminent. They have half an hour to gather some things and flee the country. The goal is to work out the list of things to take on the journey. Tell the students to think carefully in choosing:  what will your family need to survive the journey?  what will your family need when you arrive? what personal items will you take with you? ** If you are asked for more details on the scenario (how will we be travelling, how much can we bring, how long will the journey be etc) tell the students that they don't know: all they know is that they have half an hour to gather some things and get out. Give the groups 3-5 minutes to brainstorm a list. After that time, ask a few groups to present their list and explain why they chose what they did. Now introduce a new caveat: each group is now aware that the journey will be on foot, and only two family members are healthy and strong enough to carry extra weight. Everything must now fit into two backpacks. They cannot take anything that doesn’t fit. They cannot take anything that has to be carried separately. Again, provide 3-5 minutes for the groups to revise their lists, then ask a few groups to present and explain why they chose what they did. You may want to ask follow-up questions based on what people say. For example:  Do you believe you’ll be able to survive with only such a small amount? Is there anything you couldn’t bring that you really need? I see you didn’t include very much food and water, what will you do when that runs out? There’s no medicine in your suitcase. What would you do if your young child fell ill along the way? Following the activity, explain that the intent was to step into the shoes of a refugee and understand the desperate conditions they face. In some parts of the world, refugees do walk for days, with little food and water, struggling to keep their families alive. And when they arrive at their destination (a refugee camp, or a country where they lack legal status), the conditions are often not much better. Now you’re ready to begin the presentation!
  • The session begins with some general information on refugees and the issues they face, particularly in the Canadian context. We’ll go on to talk about where WUSC fits in, and discuss various ways to get involved and learn more. Questions are welcome at any time!
  • Notice the important points of this definition: Refugees are UNABLE or UNWILLING to stay in their home country due to a fear of persecution because of who they are or what they believe. The fear must be well-founded—so perhaps they have been threatened, or their friends or family members have been harmed. The persecution does not necessarily need to be at the hands of the government. For example, the threat could come from a street gang, a militia group, or even a family member.
  • You may have heard the term “Internally Displaced Person” to describe persons who flee their homes. The difference is that refugees leave their country, while IDPs remain in a different area of their country of origin. For example, people from Darfur who have fled to camps in South Sudan are IDPs. While there are international guidelines governing the treatment of refugees, the treatment of IDPs is determined by the country within which they live. The level of protection is therefore often very low. Another important distinction is between refugees and immigrants. Immigrants make the choice to leave their countries, usually for economic reasons, or to join family abroad. Refugees, by contrast, leave due to a real fear of harm if they stay. So they lack that element of choice. Leaving is still a choice in the most basic sense of the word, but staying isn’t really a viable option.
  • Many refugees endure treacherous journeys to reach a camp in a neighbouring country. The conditions in the camps are often very difficult. Keep in mind that most people have fled with very few possessions. While there may be some access to education in camps, there is evidence of perisistent gender imbalance.
  • Life in a refugee camp can be very difficult, particularly if the host country is not very welcoming. With limited food, water, work and schooling, and very limited opportunities to improve the situation, a sense of hopelessness and helplessness can develop.
  • However, it is important to note that camps do provide certain advantages. Living in a camp might actually be more desirable than trying to fend for oneself in a big foreign city, for example. In camps, a sense of community can provide comfort and hope. Neighbours can band together to support one another through difficult times. Also, humanitarian aid will often be available in the camps, and some camps do have limited access to education and healthcare. This is very important, because refugees often end up living in camps for years at a time. Some children spend their entire childhoods in a camp environment. Of course, every refugee camp is different—conditions can range from extremely desperate to relatively comfortable. But, for the most part, life in a refugee camp is difficult and fraught with uncertainty.
  • Anyone who lands on Canadian soil and claims refugee status is an asylum-seeker. International legal regulations, which Canada recognizes, provide that every asylum seeker's claim must be processed and evaluated. Refugee claims can also be made from outside of Canada. In these cases, there must be a sponsor for the claim. The Government of Canada acts as a sponsor, as do private individuals.
  • Any group of five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, who are at least 18 years of age and who live in the community where the refugees are expected to settle, can join together to sponsor one or more refugees. Community sponsors are organizations, associations or corporations with adequate financial capacity and ability to provide settlement support. The third type of sponsor is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, which we’ll discuss in some more detail…
  • Most private refugee sponsors – over two thirds – are sponsorship agreement holders. Constituent groups work under a Sponsorship Agreement Holder to sponsor refugees in their communities. So in WUSC’s case, WUSC is the SAH, and each local committee sponsoring student refugees is a Constituent Group. WUSC collaborates with overseas partners to select, interview and prepare the student before their arrival in Canada, supports the Local Committees, and monitors and evaluates sponsorship. The Local Committees, for their part, provide the financial, moral and emotional support to sponsored students for the minimum 12 month period.
  • Most private refugee sponsors – over two thirds – are sponsorship agreement holders. Constituent groups work under a Sponsorship Agreement Holder to sponsor refugees in their communities. So in WUSC’s case, WUSC is the SAH, and each local committee sponsoring student refugees is a Constituent Group. WUSC collaborates with overseas partners to select, interview and prepare the student before their arrival in Canada, supports the Local Committees, and monitors and evaluates sponsorship. The Local Committees, for their part, provide the financial, moral and emotional support to sponsored students for the minimum 12 month period.
  • In 2007, an evaluation of the SRP was conducted, and found overwhelmingly positive results from the program.
  • In recent years, WUSC has begun to expand its influence beyond the sponsorship of refugee students. WUSC is now working in several refugee camps to ensure that children have access to schooling, and that the gender gap in education—often quite large in camps—is closed. For the time being, WUSC is focusing on teacher education and schooling for girls, as these are areas requiring immediate attention in the camps where WUSC operates.
  • WUSC is active in Kakuma camp, located in northwest Kenya. The camp was established in 1992 to serve Sudanese refugees, and has since expanded to serve refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Uganda, and Rwanda. Kenyan regulations prevent engagement in economic activity. Since freedom of movement outside the camp is minimal, aid is vital. Hardships include dust storms, high temperatures, poisonous spiders, snakes, and scorpions, outbreaks of malaria, cholera etc Educational opportunities are limited, but are slowly increasing due to the efforts of organizations like WUSC.
  • WUSC also operates in Malawi. The camp here is much smaller than Kakuma, but it certainly rivals its diversity: 9 nationalities are represented here.
  • WUSC has determined that these four items are particularly important in the camps where we are working.
  • So, as you can see, there are several different ways to get involved with WUSC’s work. You can sponsor a student, raise money for in-camp support, and also raise awareness on campus and in the community. Awareness initiatives can be part of a fundraising or sponsorship campaign, and can also be done separately. Awareness raising is particularly important. As we’ve already seen, refugees face many challenges living in camps, and the challenges can continue when refugees arrive in countries like Canada. The next part of the presentation will address these challenges.
  • Quickly going over this slide will give students a clear sense of the contributions that former refugees can make, and the human potential that accompanies refugee resettlement.
  • Haideh Moghissi asks us to consider what it would be like to be completely uprooted from our way of life. Imagine having your qualifications, the reputation you've built, your friendships and family ties suddenly taken away.
  • So why is it important to raise awareness about the issues faced by refugees? The myths that we mentioned earlier are very pervasive in Canada and elsewhere. Raising awareness helps to show that these common misconceptions are inaccurate. This, in turn, helps to change attitudes and make Canadian society more welcoming to newcomers. Awareness raising is also a great way to generate interest in your local committee's campaigns, and in WUSC more generally.
  • Here are just a few ways to raise awareness.
  • You can hold an awareness-raising event at any time, but these three days are recommended due to their relevance.
  • Organizing a successful event can be difficult, particularly when your target audience is mainly students – who are busy, preoccupied, and exposed to campaigns by many different campus groups. One way to attract attention on campus is to work together with other campus organizations. For example, groups like Oxfam, Amnesty and Stand are concerned with similar issues. You may be able to jointly organize a speakers' panel or a movie night. Or you may want to set up info booths on the same day. It can also help to promote your event in a variety of ways. Some people will notice posters, but posters alone probably aren't enough. Using social networking tools, media and presentations, in addition to posters, will help you to attract attention, and also to sustain that attention.
  • Publicity helps to spread awareness, even to those who do not attend your event. However, getting the attention of media can be easier said than done. It is usually best to start with your campus media. Smaller outlets – like local community papers – will also be more likely to cover your event. For larger events, it may be worthwhile to write a press release and send it to a wider range of media outlets. When you have well-known people participating in or attending your event, you are more likely to generate interest. It never hurts to invite your MP!
  • Planning an awareness event is a team effort. The dedication of a team can make or break your event. Strong leadership is essential. A common problem is that a team member wants to help out, but isn't clear on exactly what he or she should be doing. To address this issue, it is important to give each team members a specific role or task, with specific deadlines. For example, if I know that I am expected to design a poster and present it to the team at next Tuesday's meeting, I am more likely to do the work than if I am just told that I should be “helping with promotions”. The team is also more likely to stay on track if you hold regular meetings. In-person meetings work best, but if that's not feasible, conference calls or a regular email chain can be used. Ask team members to email the group with an update on what they have been doing, problems they've faced, where they need help etc. WUSC has resources that can help your team to communicate effectively.
  • The word refugee carries certain connotations, and labelling a former refugee as such after arrival is no longer accurate.  It is important to be sensitive to this. For example, if you bring in a former SRP sponsored student to speak, it is important to avoid referring to that individual as a refugee. When conducting an awareness-raising activity, it can also be tempting to generalize. But keep in mind that refugees come from all different parts of the world, and can have very different backgrounds, experiences, and reactions to resettlement.
  • This presentation has provided a basic overview on issues faced by refugees and how you can help to raise awareness. There are many resources to help you learn more or plan an event. One excellent resource is WUSC's guide for sponsoring groups. You can find the guide on WUSC's website, under resources.
  • Any questions?

Raising Awareness about Refugees Raising Awareness about Refugees Presentation Transcript

  • Promoting Awareness of Refugee Issues WebTrain Session
  • Agenda
    • What is a refugee?
    • Refugee Issues: Life in a Refugee Camp
    • Refugee Issues in the Canadian Context
    • What WUSC is doing
    • Debunking Myths
    • How to Raise Awareness
    • How to Make an Impact
    • Maintaining Sensitivity
    • Resources and Links
  • What is a refugee?
    • A refugee is a person who is forced to leave his/her home country to seek protection from harm.
    • Canada applies the 1951 Refugee Convention definition:
      • A refugee is a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country..."
        • The 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
  • Some Definitions
    • Refugee vs. IDP
      • An Internally Displaced Person (IDP) is someone who has been forced out of their home, but remains in their country of origin.
      • The level of protection for IDPs is very low.
    • Refugee vs. Immigrant
      • Immigrants choose to leave their country, often for economic or family reasons, while refugees flee due to a fear of persecution. Staying in their country of origin is not a reasonable option for refugees .
  • Life in a Refugee Camp
    • Limited food, water, shelter, healthcare
    • Reliance on aid; limited opportunities for schooling or work
    • Fewer girls than boys in school
    • Diseases like malaria, typhoid and cholera common
  • Life in a Refugee Camp
    • Confined to the camp
    • Often crowded and isolated
    • Sense of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Life in a Refugee Camp
    • Community solidarity
    • Working together to survive
    • Access to aid
    • Efforts to improve access to education and healthcare in camps
  • Refugee Protection in Canada Canada provides protection to refugees in two ways:
    • Inland Claims (refugees flee to Canada and claim refugee status on Canadian soil)
    • Overseas Selection (Refugees living in a country of asylum are sponsored for resettlement in Canada)
      • government-assisted refugees
      • privately-sponsored refugees (eg WUSC)
  • Privately-Sponsored Refugee
    • Private sponsorship entails a guarantee to provide financial and personal settlement support
      • 12 – 36 month commitment
    • Private sponsors include:
      • Groups of five
      • Community sponsors
      • SAHs
  • Sponsorship Agreement Holders
    • SAHs are organizations that have signed sponsorship agreements with the Government of Canada to help support refugees to resettle in Canada
    • Are over 90 SAHs in Canada
    • Over 2/3 of privately-sponsored refugees are sponsored through a SAH
    • Constituent groups act on behalf of a SAH
    WUSC is a unique SAH
  • WUSC’s Student Refugee Program
    • enables student refugees to pursue their studies at universities and colleges across Canada.
      • Over 1000 sponsored students
      • Over $1 million raised each year
    • a tool for Canadians to deepen their understanding of refugee challenges and the connection between global and local issues.
  • SRP Successes
    • Most sponsored students:
      • vote, volunteer and get involved in their communities
      • complete their post-secondary program (97%)
      • find jobs or further their education
      • agree that enrollment in a college or university and the support of the WUSC sponsoring group were key factors in their successful integration
  • In-Camp Strategy
    • WUSC aims to:
      • Enhance the availability of quality primary, secondary and post-secondary education in refugee camps
      • Close the gender gap in education between refugee boys and girls.
    • Priorities:
      • teacher education
      • schooling for girls
  • WUSC in the Camps: Kenya
      • Kakuma camp in the northwest
        • home to about 50,000 refugees in 2008
        • Very diverse
        • Challenging conditions
  • WUSC in the Camps: Malawi
    • Dzaleka camp
      • Population of approx. 8000
      • 9 nationalities
  • In-Camp Strategy Funds raised go a long way … $20 1 school uniform $35 1 set of Grade 5 textbooks $80 1 solar or rechargeable light $1000 Scholarship for 1 year of secondary school
  • You can help!
    • Raise funds
    • Sponsor a student
    • Raise awareness
  • Common Myths With data from Amnesty International Canada http:// www.amnesty.ca/Refugee/myths.php Because of its geographic isolation, Canada receives a relatively small number of refugees. By far the largest number of refugees are in developing countries. The number of refugees Canada accepts each year is less than a tenth of 1% of the population. Canada takes in more than its share of refugees The majority of asylum-seekers are driven by conflict and repression. Refugees abuse the system to come to Canada and get rich Studies show that refugees and immigrants contribute positively to our economy. Many refugees start small businesses that employ both themselves and "native" Canadians. Refugees are a drain on our economy and they take jobs away from Canadians. Canada has a stringent refugee screening process. The refugee system lets criminals and terrorists into Canada REALITY MYTH
  • The reality is that many dynamic, industrious, intelligent individuals are or were once refugees.
  • They were once refugees…
    • Albert Einstein – One of the world's most famous scientists. Fled Nazism in Germany.
    • Mika – Musician. Fled from Beirut, Lebanon.
    • Wyclef Jean – Musician. Fled from Haiti. Named group The Fugees (short for refugee).
    • M.I.A . – Musician. Part of a Tamil Sri Lankan refugee family.
    • Bob Marley – Musician. Fled Jamaica to Miami after being shot during political violence.
    • Michaëlle Jean –The current Governor-General of Canada . Fled Haiti.
    • Sigmund Freud - Founded psychoanalysis. Fled from Nazism in Austria.
    • Victor Hugo - Author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Due to his political beliefs, he was forced to flee France several times.
    • Social isolation (particularly in the first weeks/months)
    • Loneliness and homesickness
    • Limited employment opportunities
    • Negative host culture attitudes and assumptions
    • Lack of access to essential services
    • Adjustment to new culture, rules, customs, language, weather
    • Barriers to resettlement
    Issues Faced Upon Arrival
  • “ Just imagine, suddenly, you lose everything you have worked for all your life – all the people and things you cherish and love. The experience reduces you to a child and the response of others intensifies it. All of a sudden you are having to learn the basics of life again : how to speak, behave, how to interact with people, find a job, learn a skill as if your past education was a slate wiped clean. Whatever you have learned before, all your previous achievements are worth nothing in the country of refuge.” - Haideh Moghissi, Queen’s University, Kingston “ Resettlement is like trying to walk again only you are a lot heavier.” - Resettled refugee
  • Raising Awareness: Why?
    • More awareness = more understanding of the unique issues that refugees face
    • Raise awareness and funding to support student sponsorship or WUSC’s refugee camp education support
    • Get more students involved with WUSC!
  • Raising Awareness: How?
    • Hold a movie night to explore the refugee experience.
    • Invite a former refugee to give a talk about his/her experience.
    • Hold a speakers’ panel composed of former refugees, settlement workers, and/or academics.
    • Present myths and facts about refugees at an info booth on your campus.
    • Write an article for your campus or local newspaper about the SRP on your campus.
  • Raising Awareness: How?
    • Organize a “feast-or-famine” dinner to raise money for a refugee-related cause.
    • Set up a mock refugee camp in a high-traffic area to generate discussion. (You might include a typical camp meal, information and pictures on current refugee crises etc)
    • Organize a community event to celebrate the benefits of cultural diversity (e.g. a potluck dinner, a cultural evening etc)
  • Raising Awareness: When?
    • You can hold an SRP Awareness Day or event anytime!
    • Recommended days:
      • SRP Awareness Day – January 31 st
      • Refugee Rights Day – April 4 th
      • World Refugee Day – June 20 th
      • Other
  • Making an Impact: Attracting Attention on Campus
    • Coordinate with other campus organizations.
      • Ask group reps to tell their membership about the event
      • Cross-promote or work together where feasible (eg during a campus-wide International Development Week)
    • Promote your event in different ways.
      • Posters
      • Class presentations
      • Email
      • Facebook/Twitter etc
      • Campus media
      • Local media
  • Making an Impact: Publicity
    • Engage the media!
      • Ask campus or local media to promote and attend your event, or to publish an article written by someone from your group.
      • For bigger events, distribute a press release.
    • Engage the community!
      • Invite local politicians and other prominent community members to attend awareness events.
      • This can help you gain exposure, while informing decision-makers about the issues.
  • Making an Impact: Building a strong team
    • Outline specific roles, tasks and deadlines
      • Commitment will be stronger if each team member feels that they have a specific and important role.
      • Deadlines help keep everyone on track.
    • Set communications norms
      • Weekly meetings; email updates etc
      • List of contact information for all team members
      • Make use of WUSC’s “My Committee” resource
  • Maintaining Sensitivity
    • Use of the word “refugee”
      • Recall that individuals who have re-settled in Canada (including those students who arrive through the SRP) are no longer refugees – they are Permanent Residents in Canada.
    • A diversity of experiences
      • The experience of each refugee and former refugee is unique. Generalizations about “the refugee experience” or “the integration process” should be sensitive to the fact that they might not apply to all.
  • Resources
    • WUSC’s Guide for Sponsoring Groups
    • advice on fundraising, event planning, engaging the community etc
  • Resources
    • The WUSC Website has:
      • Film database
      • SRP promotional materials
        • posters, buttons, t-shirt templates, a fact sheet etc
      • Profiles of former sponsored students
      • And much more!
    WUSC’s Campus Engagement Team is always available to help!
  • Resources
    • Passages to Canada ( www.passagestocanada.com )
      • locate a great speaker in your area
    • UNHCR Refugee Day Toolkit ( http:// unhcr.ca/wrd/documents/WRD_Toolkit.pdf )
      • an exceptional resource for planning an awareness event
    • Integration Net ( http://www.integration-net.ca / )
      • connect with like-minded organizations in your community
  • Resources
    • CBC’s interactive “Anatomy of a Refugee Camp” ( http:// www.cbc.ca/news/background/refugeecamp / )
      • Useful for planning a Mock Refugee Camp
    • Against All Odds ( http:// www.playagainstallodds.com / )
      • This online simulation game allows you to experience the obstacles, terror, and choices people are compelled to make when they are forced to leave their homes against their will. 
  • Where to Learn More
    • UNHCR ( www.unhcr.org )
      • The UN Refugee Agency's website is a great resource for the latest news, stats and information on refugees around the world.
    • Citizenship and Immigration Canada ( http:// www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp )
    • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada ( http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/Eng/Pages/index.aspx )
    • Canadian Council for Refugees ( www.ccrweb.ca )
      • CCR is a non-profit umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada.
    • Centre for Refugee Studies ( http:// www.yorku.ca/crs / )
      • The Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) is an organized research unit of York University.  This site provides information on events, publications and resources relevant to refugees.
  • Thank You and Good Luck!
  • 1404 Scott, Ottawa, ON, K1Y 4M8, Canada    613.798.7477  /  1.800.267.8699  613.798.0990 [email_address] .ca