Refugee Journey

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An activity to get cubs to learn about refugees - with practical simulations


Photos - print out some photos of refugee camps. & a picture of Mo Farrah
Cards ( see attached)
Big sheet paper (e.g. paper tablecloth) & pens
A Rucksack and items to pack
Jerry cans of water, washing up bowls, measuring jugs
Refugee food (lentils, flour, oil) - in bags measured out as a daily ration, and cooked e.g. into chapatis or rice and dhal


Stage 1: "Home"
Cubs sit around a big sheet of paper cut out to 3.5m3 on the floor
All cubs sitting round the outside – drawing, talking exercise:
Ask them all to draw their home and their family around the edge
What is important to you?
What is your home like?.....draw/write answers on the paper
e.g. warm, comfortable, pets, hobbies, friends, family, sports, school etc…

What if you had to leave?

Read a story: This is a story about a young boy – about your age. His name is Mohammed and he lives with his family in a city called Mogadishu in Somalia. He lives in a big house with his parents and his grandparents his twin brother Hassan and his two younger brothers.

But Somalia was not a good place to live There was no government and the place was run by warwlords, People were being murdered and kidnapped then it turned into a real war. Some cities were bombed. Thousands of people died. Water wells were blown up. There was no electricity. Farms were burnt down. So people started to try to get out to somewhere safer Mohammed and his family left

Stage 2. " Leaving"

In sixes: Imagine you have to leave your home – you can only take a small bag what would you take? Give them cards e.g.

Sleeping bag
Sleeping mat
Water bottle
Cooking pans
Decide on 10 things to take.

You can only fit 7 things in the bag. What do you leave behind?

(Also here we had a bag to pack and they all tried it on to feel the weight)

OK so your bag is packed, you are leaving behind everything from home, you have to go to another country.

Read the next part of the story "Mohammed and his family set off for Djibouti, and stayed with some cousins there, and then they set off for England. They spent all their money on plane tickets, but just before they were due to leave Mohammed's brother Hassan, gets sick, and and he won’t be allowed on the plane. But the family has spent all their money on the tickets. So they decide to leave Hassan behind staying with the cousins, and come back for him later so they left."

Stage 3: "Refugee camp"

Most refugees don’t fly to the UK, mostly they go to a nearby country and they end up in a refugee camp. Show some photos

Camps are run by the UN, or the government – show photos

Dadab camp in Kenya has 330,000 people – a whole city made out of tents - compare that to the size of your town etc..

Sometimes they have charities that help – show the different charity logos – Unicef, Oxfam, Save the Children, Medicins Sans Frontiers –can they identify them. what do you think they do? What do the refugees need?

Each refugee is supposed to have 3.5 square meters of space - how big is that? It is the size of the piece of paper we started with

Imagine living in that space

Discuss What is it like? No privacy, too hot, too cold, not safe, boring etc....

Water – the UN tries to make sure that each person has at least 10 litres of water a day. How much water do you think you use everyday?

Activity: Each 6 – gets 10 litres of water and various bowls and buckets – you have to divide it up and think about different uses – drinking, cooking, washing up, washing, washing clothes.

Camp food:
Show them the daily ration:
Cereal (rice or wheat) 400g
Pulse (beans or lentils) 60 g
Oil 25g
Sugar 15g
Salt 5g

Taste some camp food. What is it like?

4. Stage 4: "Resettlement"

Some people stay in refuge camps for a long time (the average is 17 years). Some get to go back home. Some people make their way to other countries like the UK. This is called resettlement

Sit in a circle and finish the story:

"Mohammed went to England. But he didn’t speak any English. He only know how to say "excuse me" and"where is the toilet?" . On his first day at school in London the other kids teased him, he got in a fight and he got a black eye. He found it hard to settle in and learn English, and he missed his brother and his home"

talk about refugees. Are there any refugees at your school? What can you do to welcome new people? What can we do as a cub scout group.

Show them a picture of Mohammed (it is Mo Farrah)


  • Global Challenge, global issue
  • Refugee

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