Nelson Mandela Primary School in Birmingham received the Sanctuary Award on 15th July. The school became a Rights Respecting School and the Rights Rangers Rights instigated an amazing event last spring where they arranged to meet and play with refugee children based at the local Initial Accommodation centre. The whole school also took part in the Echo Eternal project in autumn 2018, a commemorative arts, media and civic engagement project which is inspired by the testimony of British survivors of the Holocaust. The children were able to make links to the situation of today’s refugee children. During Refugee Week 2019, the pupils learned about climate refugees and Year 6 also took part in poetry workshops. Parents and children were involved in fund-raising activities for a local charity, Kings Heath Action for Refugees (KHAR). The photograph shows on the right Assistant Head Rochelle with the Sanctuary Award, on the left Lucy from KHAR, and the three winners of the poetry prizes, one of whom is also holding the certificate of donation given to them by KHAR. The school council have researched and created a ‘welcome pack’ for any child, refugee or otherwise, who may start at the school. This is backed up the new ‘Schools of Sanctuary’ policy, which clearly sets out the actions that the school takes, and would take, to ensure that they are truly a place of sanctuary for refugees.
This was the winning poem , written by the pupil in the middle of the photograph:
Chased out due to her race
That’s why she’s here wolfing down her food,
Leaving nought but a smear.
Difficult was her case and the lawyers
Can’t truly keep her safe.
When she falls, I will be her rock. Sturdy and strong.
But now, I must be her anchor.