On Friday, September 23rd, all of our seventh graders and 40 of our 10th and 11th graders had the opportunity to participate in Forced From Home, a free, interactive, educational outdoor exhibition designed to raise public awareness about the global refugee crisis in Honduras, Burundi, Lebanon, and Syria. Guided by Doctors Without Borders field workers, students were given a tour through a variety of interactive, hands-on experiences in which they were challenged to imagine what life is like for some of the world’s 60 million displaced people. Students also learned what Doctors Without Borders teams do to assist refugees and migrants on their journeys. At the end of the exhibition students had the opportunity to write postcards to field workers placed throughout the world, connecting them to the global service community.
Check out some powerful student reflections below:
Highlights from 7th Graders:
“The highlight of Friday’s “Forced From Home” trip was the amount of knowledge that came out of it for me. They gave me so much more information to take away about people who have been forced from their homes … I realized how bad conditions can be, and how many actually face this. Now that I am filled with more knowledge about this whole topic … that I can really put to use and think about the next time I do something in my everyday life. For me that information that they gave to me was the highlight.”
“… I really enjoyed the fact that it was interactive and I felt as it was a very big eye opener and it made me realize my privilege.”
“My favorite part was having to pick 5 things because it really felt difficult to do it in 10 seconds. But actually refugees had to do it in 3 seconds tops. It also gave me a feel for how stressful everything is having to give up something or making sure you still had enough to live off of.”
“The highlight of that trip for me was seeing how we were taking everything thing for granted … there are people out there who do that on a day to day basis.”
“That trip was really mind opening and it made me feel really sad. One of the things that was upsetting was learning that half of the refugees were children.”
Reflections from 10th graders:
Janine S.: “… People flee their homes for several reasons including war/violence, religious freedom and to flee persecution, race conflicts, natural disasters, famine, political reasons, and financial issues … During the exhibit we were told to choose four important items to bring on our journey, and at each stop we made we were to drop something off. Even though it was of significant value … decisions had to be made regarding the importance and value of each item. … There are still many gaps that are left that will and are endangering vulnerable displaced people around the world such as lack of resources, nowhere to reside and find refuge … In our country we can be more open to accepting refugees and providing areas that are specifically designated for displaced persons … Even if that is all unachievable, we can send over resources (such as non perishable food, water, medicine, and doctors), and donate money to refugee groups such as MSF to help aid in keeping services like this going on for years to come.”
Amina W.: “People can be forced from their homes for a number of different reasons included wars, religious conflict, natural disasters, inability to cultivate, non war-related violence, no access to health care etc. MSF, also known as Doctors without Borders in the United States, is a humanitarian organization. They offer medical assistance to these refugees and internally displaced people. They bring over some necessities like water and food and also medicine … while the refugee and internally displaced people camps may be safer than the homes displaced people come from they still encounter overcrowding, death, disease, fear of being unsafe, and numerous other terrible conditions. The US can aid in this crisis by offering to send supplies to those in need and allowing refugees and internally displaced persons to enter the country.
Miranda C: ¨I, along with some of my classmates, had the opportunity to take part in an interactive outdoor exhibition led by “Doctors Without Borders,” which was designed to raise public awareness of the global refugee crisis. I had first hand experience of what it was like to be a refugee fleeing my family, my home, and my community. I experienced similar feelings of the challenges, thoughts, and fears that refugees around the world are feeling right now … I definitely grew as a person after participating in this exhibition … I saw how crowded many of the tents were, the small amount of water that each family received, the wobbly inflated boat to transport refugees across waters, the food that was provided, the uncomfortable hospital beds, and it hit me of how so many people right now are suffering far from their families and homes, and are in a state of despair … I became more aware of our global issues, and it was overall a really wonderful experience that I will be sure to remember.¨
Taekyung K: ¨The Doctors Without Borders: Refugee, was planned by Natania Kremer for the purpose of Service and Justice education … I was assigned to the Syria Refugee, we had to pick up 4 items before we leave our homeland … We had to ride a motor boat in order to run away from disaster, which took more than 72 hours. To decrease the weight of the boat, we were asked to leave on of the items for survival. I left clothes.
We entered the refugee camp, and its conditions were critical … we got assigned to tents few years after we arrive, because there are too many people … At the end, we finally were either isolated or sent to the new home … I lost everything like everyone did. This experience was very educational and influential enough to raise global awareness to public; furthermore, this activity had significant value which can help people out there who are insecure as human beings. This service action should be taken as a further step to have better understandings or support about service learning.¨