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Opportunity to walk a mile in a refugees’ shoes

A refugee’s situation is often so perilous that they have to endure unimaginable hardships and take significant risks to provide safety for themselves and their families. 

We (the Year 7 students) sought to share this understanding with the wider community through a ‘refugee camp’ simulation experience called ‘walk a mile in my shoes’.

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Each participant was given a personal story of a true refugee to follow. Classes were escorted through eight stations; each carefully designed to provide an insight into what it is like to be a refugee and leave home far behind.

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At the border control centre, they recited their details to the ‘border control officers’ and were ‘quizzed’ to see if they were true refugees. At the medical station, they rolled up their sleeves to get a vaccination to prevent the spread of disease and had their medical needs attended to. 

The shelter, food, water and education stations that followed gave the new refugees an understanding of the cramped conditions and how little resources refugees survive on.

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At the end of the simulation, participants were provided with the opportunity for prayer and reflection, with a focus on gratefulness for what we have.

From this project, I gained a deeper understanding of the challenges and hardships that refugees face to find a new life and a greater appreciation for how lucky we are and how comfortable our lives are here in Australia. It is important that we have the empathy necessary to be able to build the bridge between ‘them’ and ‘us’ and live with ‘one foot raised’. 

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I believe that Year 7 provided our Kostka Hall community with a powerful and authentic opportunity to walk a mile in a refugee’s shoes.

Max Phillips
Year 7 Arrupe, Kostka Hall Campus