Today is World Refugee Day and this week the Chelsea Foundation joined forces with our global charity partner Plan International to help raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.
For the millions already living through conflict, displacement or natural disaster across the world, the coronavirus pandemic has been a crisis on top of a crisis.
To support their #ListenToGirls campaign, staff from our education department joined up with Plan this week to deliver sessions to schools across London on how struggling refugee communities are now faced with the additional challenges of coping with this horrible virus.
One of those sessions took place on Friday afternoon at Roehampton Church of England Primary School, where Plan delivered a presentation on World Refugee Day before explaining how the children can show their support for refugees.
During the session, the children, boys and girls aged nine to 11-years-old, created ‘paperchains of girls’ to stand in solidarity with refugees as part of Plan’s ongoing campaign to call on leaders to #ListenToGirls living through crisis.
Ema Jackson, who is from Plan’s girl’s rights and youth team, took part in the virtual session with the youngsters and said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has made the lives of girls living in refugee camps ever more difficult, with a lack of basic provisions like food and soap and cramped conditions making social distancing impossible.
‘These girls know what needs to change and it is vital we amplify their voices, so it’s fantastic to see schools like Roehampton CofE Primary joining our campaign by creating brilliant eye-catching paperchains of girls.
‘There has never been a more important time to join hands in virtual solidarity with refugees.’
Chelsea Foundation schools education officer Sam Mardle said: ‘As an Education Department, we are proud of what we have achieved with our participants throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
‘Our work to promote equality and diversity has been established for a number of years, and our work with PLAN International provides a natural link.
‘We have really enjoyed delivering the sessions this week, and there hasn’t been a more important time to show our support for World Refugee Day, and stand together as one through this crisis.’
Plan International has worked with girls living in refugee camps and conflict-affected areas across the world to create an eight-point plan for change.
You can hear their demands for a better future here.
To take part and show your support, Plan International has created a simple step-by-step guide to draw your own paperchain of girls, and a ready-made template to print at home.
You can download the guide here.
Once you’ve decorated your paperchain, hang it in your window and share your creation on social media – tagging Plan International UK and using #ListenToGirls – so everyone can see!
For those already in desperate situations, the coronavirus outbreak means the challenges couldn’t be greater. Please help us support girls in crisis across the world this World Refugee Day and show them their struggle is not forgotten.