accessibility & help

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In the latest edition


Haircuts and more

A child gets a haircut at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees at the Greek Macedonian border© InfoOne thing a child refugee might need is…a haircut. Discuss the photograph, taken at a makeshift camp for migrants near the border between Greece and Macedonia. What insight does it give into everyday life for migrants and refugees?

What might the boy be thinking about? How might he be feeling? Ask young people to write a caption that captures the practical and emotional aspects of the photo.

Haircuts aren’t essential to survival, but without them life might be quite different. In what way? How important is physical appearance to young people? Talk about how personal presentation might affect the way you think about yourself and the way you relate to other people.

Look back over the past week or month and identify some everyday things that have added to your quality of life. Think about going to school, playing games and music, going to the doctors or dentist, having a haircut and so on. How might you cope if one or more of these things wasn’t possible to do anymore? Or if you had to do them in very altered circumstances?


Getting help

Two of three men stranded on the uninhabited island of Fanadik in Micronesia wave life jackets next to palm fronds spelling the word help© InfoThree men swam nearly two miles in darkness when their small boat capsized in the south Pacific sea near Micronesia. Discuss how they might have felt when they found land. Expand on this discussion by considering their concerns when they realised it was a long-deserted island with no communications.

The men were there for three days before rescuers found them. It could have been a lot longer. The island is very remote, and the coastguard directing volunteer ships and rescue teams covers a massive area.

Discuss what the men might have done. What are reasonable and practical ways of increasing their chance of being spotted? They lit fires, created a help sign from palm leaves visible from the air, and waved hi-vis life vests. Do young people think these were good choices? What else might they have thought to do?

Invite inventive ways of making yourself prominent. What if young people were on a moor, a hillside or a boat in open water and needed help? Discuss different ways you could attract attention and get help in a variety of scenarios.


Learning from accidents

The Shoreham Airport display map from Air Accidents Investigation Branch Special Bulletin 3 2015© InfoA revised list of rules for running public air displays has been issued by the civil aviation authority. The new measures follow a tragic accident in which 11 people died when a vintage 1950s plane crashed onto a main road during an airshow in Shoreham last August.

Since the crash, the authority has issued 29 action points which must be followed by display organisers and pilots. They include changes to detailed risk assessments, pilot training and safety distances.

After aviation accidents, planes are often grounded until causes are identified and new safety measures introduced. Why is this important? Talk about the value of reflecting on accidents and putting measures in place to reduce the risk of them happening again.

Discuss extending such checks into everyday life. After an accident, a near miss, losing or forgetting something, how many people think about the cause and take action to prevent it happening again?

Select a recent event experienced by some young people and analyse it.


Previous editions


Long-distance emergency

Hands on a keyboard© Info

Someone's having a seizure. You call an ambulance. But what if you're not with the person? What if they're in another country and you're chatting over the internet?

That's what happened when couple Anna Messner and Melody Madill were talking over Skype. Anna was in the US when she saw that Melody, a student in Dunedin, New Zealand, was having an epileptic seizure. What would you do?

Anna called her local emergency number, 911, but was told that operators in Oakridge, Tennessee were unable to respond to emergencies across the world. What next? Discuss possible options. How could you get someone in New Zealand to call for an ambulance?

Anna's instinct was to post a request on the online bulletin board, Reddit. It paid off. Within ten minutes a woman in another city in New Zealand saw the request and called an ambulance. Anna was watching on Skype when 45 minutes later, the paramedics knocked on the door.

Discuss possible obstacles to that call being made. If you saw a post like that on an online bulletin how would you verify it was not a hoax? How would you sound plausible to the emergency operator if you were not actually with the person? Discuss the issues and any alternative options young people can think of.

Learn how to help someone who is having a seizure.


Dealing with shortages

Custard creams© Info

"The UK is in the midst of a national biscuit shortage - and it could last until April." Discuss whether young people have heard about this. Are they concerned by the news? Who might be?

Discuss the background. One of the UK's biggest biscuit factories was badly affected by floods in December. The factory in Carlisle, run by United Biscuits, stopped making custard creams, ginger nuts and bourbons among other products.

Talk about how people react to shortages. Some people stockpile, some feel the loss, others try something different. How do young people think they would react to shortages of different items or services?

What items do young people use every day? Which do they think are essential and which could they manage without? Vary the products and help them to analyse how and why their responses might change.

Think about other effects of the flooding on businesses. What do young people know, from their own experience or imagination, about the impact of flooding on individuals, families and communities?

"Rebuild stronger" is one recommendation from aid agencies after devastation. Discuss what this might mean. Think of practical ways that shops, restaurants, schools and homes might rebuild stronger after their experiences.


An act of kindness?

Wallet© Info

New York resident Reilly Flaherty lost his wallet at a concert. He didn't expect to see it again. He was right. He didn’t see the wallet again but he did get some of the contents back.

Some days later, a letter arrived in the post with his credit card and driving licence, and a note. The finder of his wallet had returned some of the contents, but kept the cash, metro card and the wallet itself.

Who thinks Reilly would have been pleased at having some of his things returned? Who thinks keeping part of the contents undermined the gesture? Reilly said he was "conflicted" about the finder's response. Can young people say why?

Do young people think that the concept of "no personal reward" is an important principle of a kind or compassionate act? If so, why? If not, why not?

Reilly Flaherty had already replaced his credit cards and ID. How would young people replace the contents of their wallet or bag if it was lost? How long might that take? How would they deal with the loss in the meantime?


Humanity recognised

Volunteers help people disembark from boats in Greece© Info

An 85-year-old woman from the Greek island of Lesbos has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Emilia Kamvisi, who was photographed bottle-feeding a Syrian baby, is one of three people nominated to represent the "behaviour and attitude of Greece, organisations and volunteers towards the huge refugee crisis".

Talk about the thinking behind awards to "ordinary" people. 

Should the humanity of everyday life be recognised and celebrated more?

When talking to reporters, Emilia made light of what she did to support the people arriving by boat.

So did fisherman Stratis Valiamos, also nominated for his work in rescuing people from sinking boats. Discuss his response to being labelled a hero: "This isn't heroism, it's the normal thing to do."

Talk about how widespread acts of kindness towards others might be. Some people volunteer with a group, others act instinctively and informally. 

Can young people say in their own words what might motivate them to help others?

How does it make young people feel to think that while the world has much suffering, it also has many people trying to reduce that suffering?


Extreme queuing

People queing for trains in China© Info

What is a long queue? How many people ahead of you in a line is too many? 

Discuss, then look at what has been dubbed the longest-ever queue for a train. Heavy snow caused train cancellations affecting tens of thousands of people queuing at Guangzhou Railway Station in southern China.

Passengers travelling home for the Chinese New Year were delayed up to ten hours, Talk about their likely emotions. 

What skills, attitudes and techniques might you use to stay calm, safe and well in this kind of situation?

How does it feel to be frustrated when you're delayed? What camaraderie might there have been among the passengers? How might they have helped each other?

What personal strategies do young people have for coping with situations which are out of their control? Share ideas and techniques for staying calm and helping others.



Oh no, I've lost my....

Woman leaving purse on bus© Info

"Please remember to take all of your personal belongings with you when leaving the train."

It's a regular announcement because a lot of people don't. More than 300,000 items were left on buses and trains in London last year.

Have young people ever left their belongings or valuables on public transport? How did it feel when they realised? 

What was their initial reaction? Were they able to think clearly about what to do next?

Who thinks it is worthwhile reporting something lost or going to lost property to find it? 

Transport for London say that only 22 per cent of the lost property items are claimed.

Why do young people think this figure is relatively low? Could it be because people don't expect property to be handed in?

Think of the places locally where personal property might be lost (and found). Try to identify where exactly someone might go to find something they have lost while on transport, at shopping centres or in other public spaces.

What other ways of reuniting property and owners are there – such as noticeboards or social media? Which do young people think might be the most effective?


After an earthquake

A sign reading 'Please help us!' is displayed while children play outside their makeshift tents in rice fields in the Philippines

Children play, hours after a destructive earthquake. What do students want to know?

Read the activities >

Build resilience

School students taking part in a workshop

Students and teachers together reflect, explore and experiment with responses to some form of crisis.

Try the quick activities >

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