By David F. Rooney
BVE Grade 6 teacher Catherine Lavelle was so impressed by student Alyssa Bollefer’s class presentation about the Syrian refugee issue that she contacted me to ask if The Current might be interested in sharing the 11-year-old’s presentation with its readers.
I have always thought that children have perspectives and opinions that the adults should be be aware of and I agreed to make a short video of Alyssa’s work, entitled: The Journey of a Syrian Refugee. I thought Alyssa’s work is not only factual but very timely, given the fund-raising efforts of the Revelstoke for Refugees Committee that is trying to bring at least one and possibly two refugee families here.
I think you’ll agree. So without any further ado, here is a 17:35-minute video about her project:
Alyssa also conducted a short survey of adults and children. Her questions and their answers are here:
Interviews with kids
Question 1: If you were a refugee would you be scared? Why?
Yes, because you are leaving your country and all you know and leaving for something you don’t know and a new country.
Question 2: How would you adapt? Would it be hard? How would it be hard?
Yes, I would feel pressured to learn the culture, language temperature and ways of life
Hard, trying to fit in, maybe a new language, food, school. Scary.
Learning the ways of life
Question 3: How would you feel?
Sad, alone, not meant to be there and confused.
Scared, not fitting in and not knowing anything.
Question 4: How would you feel if a whole bunch of refugees came to live in your home town?
Concerned but happy.
Happy they are safe and scared you don’t know what they are going to do.
Try to make them feel welcome.
Interviews with adults
Question 1: How would you feel about fleeing your country with your family?
Sad I’m leaving a place I know and live. I’d feel like I’m abandoning it. Worried about the people she left behind.
Terrible because you’re leaving all of your possessions and you don’t know if your family will be safe.
Question 2: What would be the first thing you would do when you got to your new country?
Try and find food and a place to stay.
Contact family and find a home.
Make sure your family back home is safe
Question 3: What would you be most concerned about?
Making sure everyone is healthy and that we had a place to stay. Also where to get food and that they are speaking a different language.
The people I left behind and what happened to them.
Find shelter and food.
Question 4: What would you miss?
Communication with people who speak the same language.
The culture I’m used to.
Question 5: What would you look forward to?
Peace and not being afraid.
Safety, freedom and not having to worry.