Understanding people's experience of migration

Activities to help children and young people develop empathy and understanding towards people with migration experience. Explore why refugees flee their home and what it is like to arrive somewhere new.  

10-16, ks2, ks3, ks4
PSHE, SMSC, Citizenship
Kindness, Refugees and migration

The VOICES Network: learning about refugees from people with lived experience

The films, discussion ideas, creative activities and stories within this resource will help learners to think why people migrate and how we can help refugees and people seeking asylum feel welcome.

Using the theme of kindness, learners will also consider how their kindness can impact the lives of others.

This resource was made in collaboration with six ambassadors from the VOICES Network, a collective of refugees and people seeking asylum. As people with lived experience of migration, the VOICES ambassadors share unique insights into what it’s like to seek asylum in the UK.

Who are the VOICES Network?

Watch this video to learn more about what they do (1 min 34 seconds).

The key messages the ambassadors wanted young people to learn about the migration experience include:

  • understanding being forced to leave your home
  • recognising the similarities we have with young people who have migrated and;
  • breaking down negative stereotypes

The ambassadors designed the activities in this resource to explore these experiences and include some of their own stories of migration.

Learning objectives  

Learners will: 

  • Learn about what it may feel like to be forced to leave home
  • Apply their knowledge to practise empathy, through discovering the similarities we have with those who migrate.
  • Share how they can help refugees and people seeking asylum feel welcome in their communities.


Resource overview

This resource is made up of five activities. Read the teacher guide to find out how to deliver these as well as suggestions on how you can adapt the activities for different age groups.

1. Starter: Making difficult choices  

By reflecting on choices you make every day, you can begin to consider what it may feel like to make difficult choices. Particularly, where there is no “good” outcome.  

Activity 1 understanding migration

Screenshot of an activity in the Understanding people's experience of migration PowerPoint.

2. Learn: bird migration 

Exploring the story of a family of birds who are forced to migrate opens a conversation around what it may feel like to leave home when you have no choice. This animation looks at what you might expect to find when you arrive in a new community.

The VOICES ambassadors wrote
, designed and narrated this story to show the difficulties they and their families faced when leaving home. 

3. Apply: Mada’s story 

Mada shares her story of migration in her journey from Syria to the UK. In this clip from the VOICES podcast, learners are invited to listen to this real-life story and reflect. 

Mada migration activity

Mada, a VOICES Network ambassador who fled from Syria, and her daughter Hala.

4. Apply: Messy room

Through exploring the messy room of a young person living in the UK we can find out a lot about a person. The learners will explore each item and build a picture of the person that lives there.

They will then discover the real story 
behind each item, identifying key similarities we have with young people who have migrated and challenging assumptions we make about people.

Messy Room migration activity

Screenshot of an activity in the Understanding people's experience of migration PowerPoint.

5. Share: Small kind acts 

Could your school get involved in creating welcoming communities for refugees? Learners will brainstorm small, kind acts they can do in their school or local community to help refugees and people seeking asylum feel welcome.

The VOICES ambassadors say the question they get asked most is “How can I help?
”, they suggest that even the smallest act
s to help someone new feel welcome are important. They could create a class pledge to hold themselves accountable for their new positive actions. 

Activity 5 migration 1084x610

How could you help people in your community build their new home? (Screenshot of an activity from the Understanding people's experience of migration PowerPoint.)


This resource was developed in a co-production project by Khadeja, Claudia, Mada, Asmaa, Sabrine and Almas (VOICES Network) and the British Red Cross in 2024.

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