At the beginning of the activity students read a poem written by a student from Canada who won the first prize in 2010 in the first Refugees and Human Rights Child and Youth Poetry Contest, organised by the UNHCR Toronto Office and COSTI Immigrant Services in commemoration of World Refugee Day, June 20. The title of the poem is "I am". The student describes how he thinks being a refugee may feel. In spite of being only 12 years old the student uses very strong images of torture, death,slavery, war, sorrow, despair, lonelinessin the poem. We tried to discuss the meaning of the poem and the feelings it evoked. I have to admit it touched them a lot. Then the students were asked to compose their own poems based on some phrases taken from the poem such as, I am..., I am looking for..., I am hiding from..., I want..., I hope...After completing their poems they could accompany them with an illustration-this was not compulsory, but everyone did it, anyway.
The result amazed me! It is so beautiful to let children express themselves through poetry. Here is our little book of poems entiteld "I am a refugee calling out for rights".