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No Dad Jokes without Dad

City of Sanctuary and the Refugee Council are asking you to share your bad dad jokes for a good cause!

We’re collecting the UK’s favourite dad jokes to raise awareness of refugee children torn apart from their parents by war. 

Along with more than 100 other charities, we’re calling for a change in the law to allow refugee children in the UK to bring their parents to join them in safety.

Learn about the experiences of children separated from their parents

  1. Watch the Refugee Council’s ‘Without my mum‘ video with your class. For your own background, you might find the Without My Family report helpful, see the summary of the report or the full version.
  2. Ask students how they might feel if they were separated from their grown-ups and what things they might miss about them
  3. Ask students if they might miss their grown-ups jokes, seeing if they had heard of the phrase ‘Dad jokes’ before.
  4. Share your favourite ‘Dad joke’, seeing if students can think of others.
  5. See if students are interested in showing their support for refugee children and, if so –

Here are ways your school can support the campaign…

EASY OPTION: Send awareness postcards to children’s parents in bookbags

The fully designed Dad Jokes postcards are aimed at parents. The QR code on the back of the postcard will take parents to the Refugee Council website where they can submit their best (worst?) dad joke to our campaign joke book. We’ll be sending the book to the government next year to highlight all the moments of joy and laughter that refugee children are missing out on while they’re separated from their mums and dads.

To request copies of the Dad Jokes postcards, contact [email protected]

A BIT MORE EFFORT: Contribute to an online joke book

After thinking of and sharing your favourite Dad jokes as a class, submit the children’s jokes to the campaign joke book. 

This joke book will be printed and sent to the government to highlight all the moments of joy and laughter that separated refugee children are missing.

School pupils, teachers and parents can submit their best (worst?) dad jokes online here:

ONE STEP FURTHER: Organise a dad joke postcard making session for pupils (and maybe parent/carers!)

Use A5 paper to design a postcard: on the front of the card, ask children to draw a picture of a grown-up who makes them laugh by telling silly jokes. Ask them to draw a big speech bubble coming from the person they’ve drawn and inside the speech bubble, ask children to write a short joke that they find funny. 

You might need to spend time with the children coming up with jokes, or as homework, you could ask them to ask someone in their family to tell them a joke that they can then use for their postcard. 

Back of the postcard: ask children to write a message to their MPs, e.g.

Dear ____ MP,

I have drawn a picture of… [my dad/my mum/my brother/my grandma etc].

They make me laugh by… [telling jokes, making funny faces etc].

My family is important to me because… 

Refugee children need their families too. Will you change the rules to reunite refugee families?

Please take photos of your school taking part in this activity and share them on social media. Use the hashtag #MissingDadsJokes and please tag @refgueecouncil and @cityofsanctuaryuk

You could either: 

  • Make a short video of the children reading the jokes that they’ve written on their postcards
  • Take photos of the children’s postcards

ALL THE WAY: Send the postcards to your MP with a cover letter

If your pupils feel passionate about this issue, this is an opportunity for them to learn about how to have their voice heard and flex their citizenship skills.

Collect all the pupils postcards to send to your MP and write a cover letter to explain why you are sending this to them.

Here is a template letter to go with the postcards but we strongly encourage you to personalise it to explain why your pupils feel so strongly about this issue.

Dear ________ MP, 

[Insert dad joke]

Sorry for that cringe-worthy dad joke… but there’s more where that came from! Please find enclosed [number] postcards from pupils at [your school], each with a different dad joke. 

However bad they might be, we hope these jokes put a smile on your face. But sadly, the reason we’re writing to you today is no laughing matter. 

Right now, refugee children in the UK are growing up without their mums and dads because of the UK’s unfair refugee family reunion laws. 

Every child should grow up surrounded by love and laughter. All of the UK’s closest neighbours allow separated refugee children to sponsor their parents to join them in safety. But here in the UK, refugee children are deprived of this right. 

Evidence from the Refugee Council, Amnesty International and Save the Children clearly shows that separating children from their parents is hugely harmful. It makes it harder for children to focus at school or build new relationships.

As primary school teachers, we feel that… [insert why your school is supporting this campaign].

Families belong together. With just the stroke of a pen, the government could change the immigration rules to allow refugee children in the UK to reunite safely with their parents and siblings. 

The children at our school are calling on you to help us change the family reunion rules.

We look forward to hearing your response.

Yours sincerely,

Children have a right to be with their parents. Under Article 9 and Article 10 of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, it states children must not be separated from their parents against their will and that governments must respond quickly and sympathetically if a child or their parents apply to live together in the same country.

We know that protecting the rights of children is of the utmost importance to our schools and their students: will you play your part in supporting the rights of refugee children?