During the Year 7 Enrichment activity on 2nd December, over 70 students participated in something quite different. As a recognised School of Sanctuary, Bluecoat Beechdale Academy is taking every opportunity to raise awareness on the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. On this occasion an external guest, Rachel Miller (founder of Nottingham charity Mesopotamia), came to introduce some of the current initiatives her charity is involved in and how we could play our part in supporting our community and discussing some of the global and local issues that refugees and asylum seekers face on a daily basis.
Students learned about ‘The Moses Basket Project’ and had hands-on experience preparing baskets with essential items for mothers and their new born children such as nappies, wipes, baby clothes. The group that volunteered for this task thought about how important each item would be for someone living in a refugee camp, where survival and comfort pose daily issues. We learned how many young refugee mothers and their babies would have to cope with conditions that were far from ideal, resting their babies in plastic bags instead of nappies and in empty suitcases instead of a Moses basket. Students reflected on and selected a good balance of items that would be needed, adding blankets and a variety of clothing that had been generously donated to Mesopotamia.
The rest of the group focussed on bringing a smile to families closer to home: we engaged in preparing art and craft parcels which will go to some of the poorest families in Nottingham at Christmas time. Some of these would also reach Dunkirk in France at the ‘camp’ (wasteland) where those who perished on the boat crossing two weeks ago are staying.
The students were very curious, enthusiastic and took a lot away from this session. Some of the messages attached to the parcels showed real solidarity and compassion for those who are less fortunate than us. We hope to repeat this valuable experience in the near future.