Hellesdon High School pupils and staff helped highlight the 65 million displaced people around the world when they took part in a number of events marking Refugee Week 2018.
A pop-up lunchtime gig featuring moving performances, touching on the theme of home and identity, was enjoyed by a crowd of cheering students.
Performers included Deanna Matthews, 11, Liah Brown, 13, Nelma Lemos, 15, all-girl band The Caravan Club, and the rock band Black Rose.
A small group of Key Stage 3 students joined other schools for an art workshop at The Octagon Chapel, where the children created their own flags around a refuge theme. The flags featured at an art installation for the Norwich Schools of Sanctuary Showcase evening which celebrated this year’s Refugee Week theme – the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. It included original pieces of music, poetry and drama created by Norwich children.
Hellesdon High, part of the Wensum Trust, also invited a guest speaker to hold year-group assemblies. Dr Eiad Zinah spoke about his long journey to the UK, which he had to make in order to escape the violence in Syria.
A series of creative short films and animations was screened in one of the drama classrooms and staff brought in home-baked goods for a bake sale that raised £85 for New Routes Integration. The school will also be running a non-uniform day toward the end of term where further funds will be raised for the same local charity, which works with refugees and asylum-seekers in Norwich.
The week also saw most curriculum subjects focusing on the theme of displacement and how to welcome and support refugees locally. In English lessons younger students wrote poetry to advocate the integration of refugees into our local community and older students analysed the poetry of contemporary refugees from Sudan and Somalia.
PE examined famous athletes, particularly footballers, who are also refugees, to tie in with the World Cup, and in maths students explored the practical budgeting and financial implications of being a refugee in Britain.
English teacher Jess Baker, who organised Refugee Week in school, said: “I feel incredibly proud of the sensitive and empathic work produced by students during Refugee Week. A common phrase produced in the children’s work was that here at Hellesdon ‘refugees are welcome’, which I believe is reflective of our students’ capacity for celebrating our differences”.
The school’s aim for the week was to create awareness among students about why people become refugees, in order to create a greater understanding and to overcome hostility.
Roz Yassin, another key organiser of Refugee Week at the school, said: “We feel that we have succeeded in what we set out to do. Students have responded really well to the lessons and activities and have shown a keen interest in the cause. We want Hellesdon High to be a place where human kindness is instinctive and cultural diversity is celebrated.”
CARAVAN CLUB: Hellesdon High’s all-girls’ band.
UNDER: Black Rose
FLAG: the work of 12-year-old Sinduja.