What refugees bring when they run for their lives

Yearly, nearly 100,000 men, women and children from war-torn countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have fled their homes and traveled by rubber dinghies across the Aegean Sea to Lesbos, Greece.

Refugees travel light, for their trek is as dangerous as it is arduous. They are detained, shot at, hungry. Smugglers routinely exploit them, promising safety for a price, only to squeeze them like sardines into tiny boats. Most have no option but to shed whatever meager belongings they may have salvaged from their journeys. Those allowed to bring extra baggage aboard often toss it overboard, frantically dumping extra weight as the leaky boats take on water.

Few arrive at their destinations with anything but the necessities of life. The International Rescue Committee asked a mother, a child, a teenager, a pharmacist, an artist, and a family of 31 to share the contents of their bags and show us what they managed to hold on to from their homes. Their possessions tell stories about their past and their hopes for the future.

“You will feel that you are a human. You are not just a number.”

  • The International Resource Committee

Plant The Seed - Unpack Your Thinking Add Your Heading Text Here

Refugee Survival Pack

The thinking routine we are exploring this week is Stories. A routine for uncovering accounts of complex issues. Watch the video and consider how the refugee crisis, events, people, society, etc. are presented; what has been left out, and how might you want to present the global issue.


Have a look at this article and look closely at the pictures https://medium.com/uprooted/what-s-in-my-bag-758d435f6e62,  watch the video then unpack your thinking the following way: 


What is the story that is presented? 

(What is the account that is told?) 


What is the untold story? 

(What is left out in the account? What other angles are missing in the account?) 


What is your story? 

(What is the account that you think should be the one told?)

Modelled Thinking

Here is my thinking – Bronwyn Joyce ‘The Global Write’ Creator

IMPORTANT: Teachers don’t forget to take a photo of your students thinking and post them to ‘The Global Write’ Wakelet.

Let's Write

Holiday bag or Get-away bag?

This week there are two parts that must be completed, Part A you will have a choice and Part B is a reflective writing task. You will have two different scenarios to consider. After watching the refugee backpack videos your task this week is to create two different suitcases and make a comparison. 



Part A


Scenarios 1

“Imagine you are going on holiday tomorrow, what would you pack? Where are you going and what do you need to pack in your case? You have 10 minutes to pack a bag.”


Scenarios 2

“Imagine you need to escape from your home tomorrow. You do not know whether and when you will return. Pack a suitcase with the things that you would take. Remember you can only have one suitcase and you are probably going to leave your country on foot or by road. You might not always be sleeping in a house at night. Take 5-10 minutes to decide what you will take.”

Choose one of these options


  1. Make a video of what you would pack in your two suitcases and share it on The Global Write flipgrid. 


  1. Make a poster or a buncee of your suitcases showing all the items that you packed. The template may help you be creative. Don;’t forget to add your buncee to the Buncee Board. 


  1. In two short 100 word snapshots describe what you would pack for each of the scenarios and why? Publish your writing to The Global Write Wakelet. 

Part B

Reflective Writing


What difference is there between your holiday case and your get-away case? Why are the suitcases differently equipped? What would you not take in your get-away bag that you would really miss?

Let's Create with AMAZELAB

Add the creativity of STEAM to learning, new ideas each week brought to you by the sensational team at AMAZELAB in the UK.


Design a bag 


Are you able to design a bag suitable for a child your own age to carry? 


Things to think about:


The shape of the bag – research and investigate the best shape bag for a child to carry

The materials the bag will be made from – is it readily available? Can it be recycled? How expensive is it? Can it be easily made? Is it waterproof?  How heavy will the bag be? 

What design will the bag be? Think about colour and how you would like the bag to look. Will it be desirable to others?

What volume will the bag hold, are you able to calculate this? 


Take it further;

Find out about how the bag would go into production. 

How much will it cost?

Where will it be made?

How will it be distributed? 

How will you advertise the bag? 


Are you able to design a bag suitable for use by a child to help them in difficult conditions or in a disaster zone? What do you think the bag would need to contain to help the child? 

IMPORTANT: Teachers don’t forget to take a photo of your students STEAM creations and post them to ‘The Global Write’ Wakelet.

Share Your Thinking & Creativity With The World

Place you let’s write work or your AMAZELAB creation on a Buncee and post to ‘The Global Write’ Buncee Board. Take a photo of your work and share it on our Wakelet or tell us all about your writing or creations on Flipgrid.

All you need to do is click on your button of choice and share your great work with a global audience.

Talk To 'The Global Write' Youth Ambassador Olivia

Can you explain the meaning behind Olivia’s image this week? Olivia was inspired this week by the struggle of refugees and the short time frame they have to pack their backpacks when fleeing. She would love to hear your thoughts about what her image signifies. Send here a message on ‘The Global Write’ Wakelet and I am sure she will leave you a reply.

Teacher Resources

For more information on the Stories thinking routine go to http://www.pz.harvard.edu/resources/stories

The UN Sustainable Goals and Good Life Goals we are supporting this week are:

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