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UNHCR Launches Swedish Teaching Material About Refugees

Why are refugees fleeing their countries? How do refugees sometimes end up far away when they seek safety? And what is the one most important thing that you would bring with you, if you were forced to flee your home because of war, violence, or persecution?  

In today’s world, future generations need to understand and embrace the world around them – with all its complexity and challenges. To bring refugee issues into the classroom in a balanced and inclusive manner, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has today launched a comprehensive teaching material in Swedish about global forced displacement.

The aim is to provide teachers in Sweden with the tools, guidance, and inspiration to educate children and youth about forced displacement. This will give the pupils a strong foundation to better comprehend and navigate this important issue, often the focus of politicized, even divisive, public debates.

“Refugees and refugee issues are being discussed continuously, in the news, on social media, and over the dinner tables, but unfortunately these issues are surrounded by many myths and misunderstandings. Our children are inheriting a messy world, so we owe it to them to ensure they have correct facts, figures and knowledge to help them understand the global displacement situation,” says Annika Sandlund, UNHCR’s Representative in the Nordic and Baltic countries.  

The material not only offers key facts and explanations around forced displacement but also sheds light on the human faces, destinies, and consequences behind the refugee numbers. This will help create an understanding of the people who have been forced to flee their homes – a number that is growing year by year and has now surpassed the tragic marker of 110 million people worldwide.

The teaching material targets different age groups and provides animations, short videos, and suggestions for classroom discussions, group work, and tasks. It also includes concrete teacher guidance and lesson plans as well as a handbook for teachers who have children with refugee background in their classrooms. The handbook provides guidance on how to spot and relieve stress and trauma as well as how to create a safe space for the children.

Helena Löfgren teaches social studies for 13 to 15-years-olds in S:t Olof’s school in Sigtuna north of Stockholm. According to her, there is a significant need for this type of material:

“Considering the school’s mission related to democracy, it’s crucial that we teachers have access to material built on a solid foundation, especially since these topics are often surrounded by opinions and direct inaccuracies.” 

UNHCR also presents a Swedish version of “Path Out”, an award-winning video game that follows the journey of a teenager forced to flee the ravages of war. The game, that was initially co-created by Jack Gutmann, a Syrian gamer who fled his country and found safety in Austria, has been tailored into a version fit to be played in school. By blending gameplay and in-game commentary, the game enables children to step into the shoes of a refugee. 

Both the teaching material and the video game are available online and free of charge. 

The material can be accessed here. 

Source: UNHCR

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