Coram has been dedicated to helping vulnerable young people for nearly 350 years. This new programme funded by the Queen’s Trust, enables young people aged 16-25 from migrant and refugee backgrounds, to lead change and get their voices heard.
A significant achievement from the programme is the teaching toolkit, developed by one of the members and co-produced by Coram Life Education. The free ‘Belonging Toolkit’ which launched in schools last week, aims to increase understanding of migrant and refugees experiences, and improve integration and inclusion in schools.
It includes, lesson plans, teachers’ guidance on immigration, and films and activities. Exploring the theme of belonging, it aims to enrich school values, including empathy for others and respect for diversity.
Spoken word artist, comedian and presenter Mr Gee, best known for his role as resident poet on Russell Brand’s BBC Radio 2 show, praised the inspirational young people: “As a poet and someone who has worked with young people from a range of backgrounds right across London, I know the importance of expression and speaking out, especially for those whose voices are not usually heard.
“The Young Citizens are positive role models who are passionate about making a difference. They give hope for other young migrants and demonstrate to the public that they are equal members of our society, making a massive contribution and changing lives.”
Farid, one of the young people from the Young Citizens programme involved in producing the toolkit said: “It’s important to teach from a young age the importance of being welcoming. For young people from other countries being welcomed makes them feel like they fit, it makes this country feel like home. When a young person feels like they belong, they can make friends, they can integrate.
“We want to communicate the importance of belonging, and helping young people feel as though they belong across the country.”
Another member Omed said: “I hope we can work together to make a change for the future for children and young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. I hope other young people will get involved in this organisation, regardless of background, they want to help everyone.”
Coram is hosting a workshop on 30 November for anyone interested in joining the Young Citizens programme. Please visit www.coram.org.uk/youngcitizens to find out more and to register your interest by 23 November.
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