Looking into an Afghan refugee camp
September 25, 2001
Web posted at: 12:25 PM EDT (1625 GMT)
Overview: What challenges to survival do refugees face everyday? Sid Akbar spent a month in two Afghan refugee camps near the Afghan-Pakistan border. Use this article and discussion/activitity to give students the opportunity to have a better understanding of refugee camps and to determine the importance for the creation of a "humanitarian alliance."
Curriculum Connections: Current Issues
After students read the CNNfyi.com story, "Life is a struggle in refugee camps," ask the following questions:
1. Who is Sid Akbar? Where is the Jalozai refugee camp located? How many people live in Jalozai? Why did these refugees leave Afghanistan? What are the living conditions like at the Jalozai camp?
2. How do the Shamshatu and Jalozai refugee camps differ? What emotional and physical problems do you think Afghan refugees face? What types of educational opportunities are available for children at the Shamshatu camp? Why is formal education important, particularly for the refugee children? Why is it difficult to convince some Afghan parents that their children are in need of education?
3. How does your lifestyle compare to that of the Afghan refugees? What challenges to survival do the refugees face everyday? What does "displaced" mean? How does displacement complicate survival?
4. Point out to students that, according to the U.N. Children's Fund, as many as 1.3 million Afghans might attempt to escape if the U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan. Currently, humanitarian workers are preparing to deal with this possible scenario. Refer students to the links below to learn more about the Afghan refugee problem. What hardships do the refugees endure? What types of assistance are relief organizations providing? Are these relief organizations able to meet the refugees' needs? Why or why not? How have the September 11th attacks impacted the refugee relief effort? What types of long-term refugee problems might humanitarian workers encounter if the U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan? Explain.
5. Inform students that Ruud Lubbers, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, has called for the creation of a "humanitarian alliance" that would work side-by-side with a political and military campaign against terrorism. Have students consider the importance of a humanitarian alliance. Then, challenge students to identify the components of such an alliance.