SCHOOLCHILDREN have been given a unique insight into the lives of people forced to flee their homelands.
Pupils at St Bede’s in Peterlee are spending the next fortnight looking into the stories and issues which affect refugees and asylum seekers.
As part of their work, they will meet people who have come to the North East from Africa to flee violence, political unrest, prejudice and disaster and discover the difficulties they have faced first hand.
An Escape to Safety roadshow trailer, packed with information and interactive displays, is visiting the school with the support of charity Global Link.
The project also examines the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the impact of the Holocaust and genocide.
The project will also look at how Britain has become the country it has because of its history and influences brought in as people have migrated and set up home in the UK.
Sixth-form students studying psychology and sociology at its Byron College are also using the events and discussions as part of their work.
Paul Dickson, the school’s assistant head, said: “We’re going to be discussing what it means to be British and we’ve got lots of resources which will help us focus on that.
“The inventor of the Mini was a refugee, so was one of the guys who started Marks and Spencer and fish and chips were brought here by refugees.
“These are all things we think of as quintessentially British, so it’s going to challenge some of the stereotypes we think of when we talk about refugees.
“As a Catholic school, it’s also going to get them to think about how we treat each other and how we would like to be treated ourselves.”
Anyone who would like to get involved with the project can contact the school on 586 2291.