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Refugee Week 2017: Our Shared Future

Refugee Week 2017 is a celebration of our shared future, focusing on how collaboration between people from different backgrounds strengthens British communities.

This teaching resource can be used throughout the year, not just in Refugee Week. It is designed to help learners see refugees as “someone like me”, at the same time as recognising and accepting our differences. It enables young people to explore universal human values and mutual respect and understanding, building empathy towards refugees and asylum seekers. It also looks at how refugees have contributed to the communities they live in, encouraging young people to take positive action to create a shared future.

Learning objectives

Learners will:

  • discuss the values that underpin mutual respect and understanding.
  • build empathy by engaging with a refugee’s story.
  • think about the individual and collective values needed to build a shared future for communities.

Suggested age range

Designed for ages 14–16 (with differentiation options for 11–13)

Curriculum links

  • England – Citizenship and SMSC
  • Scotland – Social Studies and Health and Wellbeing
  • Wales – Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship
  • Northern Ireland – Learning for Life and Work

Resource overview


Educator support and detailed information about curriculum links.

There are five activities in the resource, and each of the activities is designed to take approximately 30 minutes.


Activity 1: “Someone like me”

This activity uses aspects of identity to stimulate dialogue and provide an opportunity for young people to challenge their own thoughts about refugees and asylum seekers. The focus is less on the label of “refugee” or “asylum seeker” and more on the common humanity of refugees/asylum seekers as “someone like me” (someone that I can relate to).


Activity 2: Mutual respect and understanding

This activity explores the importance of mutual respect and understanding for creating communities. It introduces learners to universal human values and asks them to consider their own values, as well as the values needed to build mutual respect and understanding.


Activity 3: Building empathy

This activity introduces young people to a real-life story to help them build empathy for refugees and asylum seekers. It is based around a short film (3 min 41 sec) about Ali, who came to the UK from Afghanistan. Young people think about Ali’s needs and values before considering the similarities and differences between Ali’s values and their own.


Activity 4: Community building

This activity provides case studies of refugees and asylum seekers making a positive contribution as active citizens to the communities that they live in. It helps young people to consider refugees as fellow citizens and to think about their own role as active citizens.


Activity 5: Taking positive action

This final activity builds on the previous activities, focusing on the roles that young people can play in creating a positive shared future. It asks them to consider values, attitudes and actions in order to produce a positive action plan. The outputs from this activity could be used for wider sharing.


These resources were written by Rob Bowden of Lifeworlds Learning and published in May 2017.