Refugee Week 2024 in Wales: Schools Resources exploring ‘Our Home’ over a Century of Sanctuary

Credit – Schools of Sanctuary

Refugee Week takes place UK and Wales-wide from 17 – 23 June 2024. WCIA are delighted to been able this year to support development of bilingual education materials for schools through Schools of Sanctuary and Holocaust Resources Wales, available through the Welsh Government’s ‘Hwb’ resources site for teachers:

Refugee Week is the world’s largest arts & culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of people seeking sanctuary from conflict. It’s been running in the UK since 1998 and is always the week around World Refugee Day (20 June). The theme for Refugee Week 2024 is “Our Home”. From the places we gather to share meals to our collective home, planet earth: everyone is invited to celebrate what our Our Home means to them.

Find out what’s happening near you for Refugee Week Wales

This year, WCIA has been working with the Day of Welcome project at Anglia Ruskin University, to make a range of resources available to schools. The resources contain ideas for short input, half, and full-day activities, so there’s lots of scope. You can do as much or as little as you please, and there is no cost involved. You can register to access the resources on the Schools for Sanctuary website and get your learners involved in exciting and thought-provoking activities, to help build a culture of welcome and understanding for seekers of sanctuary in Wales and beyond.

WCIA have also been supporting work with Holocaust Resources Wales, a partnership between the Centre for the Movement of People (CMOP) at Aberystwyth University and the Jewish History Association of South Wales (JHASW) which aims to provide high-quality bilingual teaching resources for use in Welsh schools. HRW currently have five resources available, with four looking at the Kindertransport and one at Treforest Trading Estate near Pontypridd.

A Century of Sanctuary – Reflections from Wales’ Peace Heritage

Wales has a long heritage of solidarity in offering sanctuary to refugees fleeing conflicts around the world.

During WW1, Welsh communities offered sanctuary to more than 4,000 Belgian refugees fleeing the outbreak of conflict in Flanders Fields. In the 1930s, Basque children fleeing the Spanish civil war were welcomed from Carmarthenshire to Denbighshire to Newport and Swansea; and Jewish ‘kindertransport’ fleeing the rise of Hitler prior to WW2, found sanctuary among communities in Powys and Conwy.

Many refugees returned to their homes, or started lives anew, after these horrific conflicts ended. Many made huge contributions to Welsh society and communities – and some chose to stay and have become a part of the fabric of Welsh society. Successive waves of conflict victims – up to and including today’s refugees from conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere – have not only been offered sanctuary, but have contributed to and shaped Welsh society. What can we learn from Wales’ peace heritage of solidarity? Is Wales today a place of peace – and could Wales become the world’s first ‘Nation of Sanctuary‘?

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