Families Together is a coalition of over 90 organisations in the UK who are campaigning together to change the refugee family reunion rules. Imagine fleeing war, but having to leave your mum, dad, brother, sister or grandparents behind during a traumatic escape. Eventually you reach safety in the UK and are allowed to stay here – but your family is still in danger and the law means they can’t join you. You worry about them constantly- the uncertainty and stress mean you’re unable to rebuild your life.
Right now, this is the reality for many refugees, including refugee children, denied the right to be with the people they love by needlessly strict UK laws. Such rules are leaving vulnerable people isolated, traumatised and alone. This must change. You can help refugees reunite with their families and put their lives back together.
This spring, your school can support the right for families to be together using the resources and activities included in the Families Together Schools’ Activity Pack and the learning resources shared on this page. In doing so, you can help the students in your school learn about the experiences of some people seeking sanctuary who are separated from their family, reflect on how they would feel in that position and share their support for families being together. Not only can your students play an active role in campaigning for more compassionate rules around family reunification for refugees but they can also develop skills to become more active citizens.
Share Your Support
Using the #FamiliesTogether Schools’ Activity Pack with associated case studies and the resources available from Oxfam, to learn about existing family reunion rules and the limited pathways to bringing family members to the UK to be together.
Ask students – in which circumstances can people bring family members to the UK? Which family members are not allowed to be brought to the UK? Who isn’t allowed to bring family members to the UK?
Encourage students to reflect on what family means to them and how they would feel if they were separated from their loved ones.
You could do this through theatre or creative writing – in the case of the latter, students might want to submit their piece of poetry to the Schools of Sanctuary Spring Newsletter competition. For more details, see the newsletter here.
Ask students to share why family is important in children’s lives and if they want to show their support for families together. They can do this by using the jigsaw template to draw their family and loved ones and cut out the pieces – only when put together can you see the image, representing how families should be together. To take their support the next level, students can write to their MP explaining what family means to them and why they think families should be allowed to be together using our template.
Please make sure to share your efforts with the Families Together Coalition and support their campaign on social media using the hashtags #FamiliesTogether and tagging @SchsofSanctuary and @FamTogetherCo.