Children in church primary schools to live like refugees to better understand crisis

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CHILDREN in church primary schools are to take part in exercises to experience what it is like to be a refugee and have to flee their home, as part of an initiative to encourage them to think about global issues.

A trial of the Global Neighbour initiative, which has been devised by Christian Aid in partnership with the Church of England, has taken place in several schools, including Naburn C of E Primary School, in Yorkshire.

Children in Years 5 and 6 took part in an exercise to help them understand what it was like to flee their home, and younger pupils learned about building homes that can withstand earthquakes.

The head, Brenda Christison, said: “Our Christian values are at the heart of all we do at Naburn, and part of that is teaching pupils that each and every one has a part to play as a responsible member of not only our learning environment, but in our local and global community.”

The school has also formed a partnership with an orphanage in Malawi, and raised enough money to twin one of its lavatories with one in Uganda.

The Church of England’s school character and development manager, Derek Holloway, said: “This partnership with Christian Aid provides an exciting new opportunity for us to work together to deliver an education that is deeply Christian and serving the common good.

“Using Christian Aid’s extensive experience of tackling poverty and the systems that cause it, Global Neighbours will help children not only recognise injustice, but also understand the Christian mandate to act on it.

“Our hope is that this scheme will empower pupils to be confident agents of change, and provide them with real opportunities to transform lives and communities.”

Other schools can now register to join the scheme, which will be launched in January. The scheme allows schools to apply to be accredited as a “Global Neighbour” at different levels: bronze, silver, and gold.

Christian Aid is recruiting voluntary teachers to help schools take part in the scheme; training days for volunteers are to be held around the UK this month.

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