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World Refugee Day 2017 at East Campus

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World Refugee Day 2017 at East Campus

The Voices for Refugees Focus Group on East Campus hosted a day of action and awareness-raising events on 20 June in honour of World Refugee Day. Students, staff and parents were able to listen to a range of speakers, sign the UNHCR petition, read more about the challenges faced by refugees from South Sudan, Syria and other parts of the world, write letters of support, watch videos, share poetry and other writings on refugees and more.

Students also took the opportunity to examine what UWCSEA and the UWC movement are doing and can do to support refugees. Dave Shepherd, Director of Advancement, spoke about the UWC Refugee Initiative as well as the two UWC scholarships for refugee students that have been funded through the generosity of the UWCSEA community for the coming academic year.

Speakers from a number of organisations including Sky School and Advocates for Refugees, Singapore addressed students along with members of the Singapore and UWCSEA communities. Joy Haugen, UWCSEA East Service Department, shared her personal story of growing up in a refugee camp in Uganda after being forced to flee her home in South Sudan as a young child. The firsthand stories from people who have faced life as a refugee or worked with refugees made a big impact on all who had the opportunity to hear them speak.

One of many highlights included Junior School students reading the powerful poems about refugees that they wrote as part of their unit on migration. As you will see in the poem below by Milan in Grade 5, they demonstrated that age is no barrier to understanding the crisis, taking action, and recognising that you can make a difference.

Just like you, just like me

By Milan N, Grade 5, East Campus

World Refugee Day 2017 UWCSEA EastHe had flowers in his garden,
With a lot of bumblebees,
Just like you, just like me.

He played with his friends,
Climbed big brown trees,
Just like you, just like me.

His was a happy family
Full of love and laughs
Just like you, just like me.

His world is full of hopes
And dreams yet to be
Just like you, just like me.

But then one day
The skies turned grey
The ground under
Shook like thunder

Mom and Dad looked sad
Said enough they had
He didn’t think much of it
They were going on a trip!

They left in a hurry
He said they forgot his teddy
Mom didn’t seem to care
She just had a blank stare.

On the way they saw smoke and fire
Where he once swung on a tire
He looked for his friends around
There was not even a sound.

Finally they got on a boat
That barely stayed afloat
Their wait was to go on
Until it became dawn.

They left in the dark before the sun
It was strange but looked like fun
He slept dreaming of ice creams and unicorns
And drawing colourful dinosaurs with crayons.

He was still dreaming of magical worlds
When the sea tossed them outwards
There was no time to cry
There was no time to say goodbye

He landed on a shore unknown
Only to be found lying face down
All he wanted was to be free
That boy could be you…
That boy could be me…

20 Jun 2017
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