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Amazing People, Character Strengths & Conflict Special Resource – Ukraine

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Seeing the images and news coming out of Ukraine can be distressing and can lead to increased anxiety for our young people.  As educators we need to address these upsetting events in a practical and helpful way.

We have developed a special resource for you to use in class with your students – download it here. The resource includes a range of practical activities for your students and provides positive methods for them to help the people of Ukraine. These activities allow students to take action, educate themselves, support others and protect their own mental health.

Albert Einstein escaped Europe with the rise of Nazism in 1933. He arrived in America and founded the International Rescue Committee. They respond to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and help people survive and rebuild their lives.

Task: Be curious, explore the work they do and perhaps share what you find out with others that you know.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the Ukrainian President and is showing great leadership. He was a comedian before he became a politician and still shows much humour. Laughing is incredibly important for our mental health and in times of difficulty, it’s even more important.

Task: If you’re feeling anxious seek out something or someone who makes you laugh – it doesn’t mean you care any less.

Kindness – it can be hard to know the best way to show kindness to the people of Ukraine and those who have had to leave the country. The Disasters Emergency Committee and the British Red Cross are two organisations raising funds to help.

Task: Find out if areas near you are gathering useful items to send to those affected and see if you can help or contribute. Can you work with others at your school to raise funds to support refugees?

Mary Seacole was a Jamaican British woman who travelled independently to help in the Crimea War. She showed courage by going to the front line and offering soldiers food, basic health care and kindness.

Task: Explore her story further and consider how you could show courage and kindness.

Empathy –there may be refugees who have arrived from difficult situations near where you live. Educating ourselves can help increase our empathy towards others.

Task: Try reading the following books:

Who are refugees and migrants? – Michael Rosen

The Year the Maps Changed – Danielle Binks

Songs of a War Boy – Deng Thiak Adut & Ben McKelvey

The Treasure Box – Margaret Wild

Gulwali Passarlay and his brother were forced to leave Afghanistan and search for safety abroad, when he was just 12. Separated immediately, he set out on a harrowing year-long journey on his own. Finally, he reached safety and was awarded refugee status in the UK. After studying, he now uses his book The Lightless Sky to raise awareness and he co-founded My Bright Kite to help other young refugees arriving in the UK.

Perseverance – the people of Ukraine are showing incredible perseverance. You can show perseverance by writing to your local MP asking that they do everything in their power to help those who have left Ukraine and are seeking sanctuary elsewhere.

GratitudePractising an attitude of gratitude helps us recognise the positive things we have in our lives.

Task: Take time each day to think of three things that you are grateful for. Write them down in a gratitude journal.

Yusra Mardini became a refugee because of the war in her country, Syria. Overcoming incredible odds, Yusra qualified for the Olympic swim team, competing in 2016 and 2020.

Fairness – many think that it is unfair that children are affected by conflict, because they are too young to be involved with the reasons behind it.

Task: Can you think of times in your life when you have been affected by events that are out of your control? If so, what were your thoughts and feelings and how did you deal with them?

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