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Roads to Refuge: refugees in Australia

Theme: Refugees and asylum seeker
Learning Area: English – Humanities and social sciences Australian National Curriculum InformationAustralian National Curriculum Information
Age Group: Primary Upper (10-12 years) – Secondary Lower (13-14 years) – Secondary Middle (15-16 years) – Secondary Senior (16-18 years)
Resource Type: Website and visual texts
Stimulus Name: Roads to Refuge


  • Students examine the terms asylum seeker, refugee and migrant and discuss the differences.
  • Students understand the significance of persecution in the refugee context.
  • Students examine the concept of human rights and discuss some of the key articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


These activities are adapted from Teaching Ideas: Roads to Refuge website, a joint project of the Centre for Refugee Research at the University of NSW and the NSW Department of Education and Communities.

The website contains videos and other resources to help students understand the refugee experience.

Resources needed

  • Internet access
  • Art materials to create visual texts

Suggested activities

Consider the following issues

Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants

  • Go to the Roads to Refuge website.
  • Highlight the main conditions that describe an asylum seeker, a refugee and a migrant. What are the main differences? (Lesson 1: Roads to Refuge – Terminology)
  • Divide the class into three or six groups and assign a category (asylum seeker, refugee or migrant). Ask each group to discuss and describe what they might feel on arrival in Australia. Report back to the whole class and discuss the differences.


  • Fear of persecution is the basis of refugee claims and is the major difference between migrants and refugees.
  • What is persecution in the refugee context? (Lesson 2: Roads to Refuge – What is Persecution)
  • Research and describe some instances of current persecution.
  • Ask students to list some of the rights and freedoms that we enjoy in Australia which, if removed, could be grounds for persecution.

Human rights – key articles

  • Go to or download The Universal Declaration of Human Rights children’s version.
    Human rights are those rights recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as necessary for people to live in dignity.
    Human Rights belong to every person in the world. Every person in the world is entitled to the same level of human rights.
  • Discuss:
    Which groups in the world do not enjoy full human rights?
    Can you think of groups in Australia who do not enjoy full human rights?

Additional strategies

Every child has rights, no matter who they are, where they live or what they believe. These rights are enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

  • Go to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • As a class decide on 12 Articles of the child that you think you want to promote. Allocate one article to a groups or a pair.
  • In groups or pairs:
    • Students rewrite the article using language for their peers
    • Students select a visual text to accompany the article they selected
    • Students can create a calendar for classrooms around the school or a mural for a hallway or school hall.

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Related resources

UNHCR refugee camp

Image © UNHCR / E.Dorfman

Relevant websites


Information accessed from:
Date: 15 July 2014

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