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Posted by: Pupils | 27 January 2016

Equipped To Serve, Refugee Challenge

Students in Y9 and Y10 have been learning how they can make a difference to a group of young people living in a refugee camp in south-east Turkey. We first found out who the Yazidis are and why on 3rd August last year, they fled as refugees from attacks by ISIS on their homes and villages in northern Iraq. We discovered something about their unique culture and their religion which blends features of Islam, Christianity and Judaism with ancient Mesopotamian religion. We recognised that one of the reasons they have experienced so much persecution down the centuries was due to a misunderstanding of their belief in a fallen angel who was forgiven by God.

Then we heard from a former CFS student who was returning to do further work in one of the Yazidi refugee camps. He explained that the young people in his English classes would be so encouraged if they received letters from England to show that they were not forgotten and that they still mattered. He also asked students donate any children’s books they had grown out of, as he was starting a small library in the camp for refugee families and their children. The response was terrific, with so many books coming in than some had to be left for next time, or the book bag would have exceeded the airline luggage weight limit!

Each Y9 and Y10 student has ‘adopted’ a young Yazidi student and has written them a letter of friendship and encouragement. We have already received some replies and have heard first hand about their experiences.

Since we wrote, many of the young refugees have decided to make the dangerous journey to Europe by sea. We are following their stories and hearing updates about where they are now. We hope to be able to resume this unique correspondence with Yazidi refugee teenagers when they are settled in Europe. You can see some of the letters we have received on the notice board in the School foyer.

Sam Connolly