4—Activities for The Little Refugee
The Little Refugee tells the story of Anh Do’s journey from Vietnam after the Vietnam War. He and his family fled their country by fishing boat. They endured heat, storms, hunger, thirst, attack, loneliness and fear before they reached Australia. In Australia they had to learn a new language and new skills in order to survive.
On the world map, locate Vietnam and plot Anh’s journey from Vietnam to Malaysia and then Australia. If available, use Google Earth to give a more dynamic view and tour of some of the places that are part of Anh’s journey.
As a class, list the situations that are encountered by Anh Do’s family on their journey by boat. Distribute a different situation to different groups and ask them to record answers to the following questions:
- How might you feel in this situation?
- Who or what might you be worried about?
- Who could you help or who could help you in this situation?
- Write down 10-15 things that you would take with you if you had to flee your home like Anh Do. They must be able to fit into a backpack and be carried by you.
Look at the illustrations in the book. The colour ranges from sepia to brightly coloured drawings. Why do you think the illustrator did this? What feelings or moods do the different colours convey?
Connections between texts
View the Behind the News video clip ‘Refugee Kids’ which shows aspects of refugees’ positive experiences in Australia.
The video shows adults connecting with the refugee kids by taking responsibility for aspects of their emotional welfare. The video recognises that refugees in Australia are vulnerable people who face many challenges settling into Australian society. It shows how having a belief in a good outcome, having hope and being resilient and resourceful sustains and encourages refugee kids in their endeavours.
After viewing the video, complete these two tasks.
- Refer to the Whoever You Are table which recorded ways that people around the world may be the same and may be different. Add to the table, showing:
- how these refugee kids enjoy some of the ‘same’ activities as you might do
- what different challenges they face being a refugee kid
- Draw up a fact/opinion table and list:
- any facts about refugee kids presented in the video. What words, phrases or images are evidence for these facts?
- any opinions of the speakers. What words, phrases or images are evidence for these opinions?
Note some differences between the language of fact and that of opinion. Ask students to write a factual sentence about what they learned and an opinion sentence about what they now think about refugee kids.
Global citizenship in action
Explain to the students that the United Nations is an international organisation with the role of maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting better living standards and human rights. The United Nations also safeguards the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
The United Nations leader, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has written to the young people of Australia. Read Ban Ki-moon's letter to the students and focus on the following sentences from the second paragraph.
People around the world are connected as a human family as never before, opening up new possibilities. But we also face multiple threats from poverty, hunger and climate change … The youth of the world have a crucial role in addressing them all …
Use questions that prompt comprehension and exploration of the concept of a common humanity, global issues and taking action. Ask the students to reflect on what they know about this connection to the human family.
- Return to the concept in Whoever You Are that all people in the world share feelings and emotions, whoever they are, wherever they are.
- In Mirror we learnt that even with all these differences in our daily lives we are all the same. Our lives mirror the lives of others.
- In The Little Refugee and the news item ‘Refugee Kids’ we learned that people can escape violence, poverty and hunger and can find a new life in another country.
- What can people do to help refugee kids? Can students make two or three suggestions? Is it possible to put any of the class’s suggestions into action?
Plan to help celebrate Refugee Week (20–26 June each year).
To scaffold an activity in which students design their own poster, download the full sized version of the 2010 Refugee Week poster (.pdf 446 kB) above and consider the following questions for students to further understand how visual elements and text combine to define a purpose for the poster.
Have the students as a class think about ways to help refugee children, and then help them translate those ideas into the design of their own poster.