For several weeks, seventh grade students have been conducting research regarding refugees around the globe. They have explored what defines refugee status, UN guidelines as they relate to the establishment of refugee camps, and statistics around the number of refugees that enter into various countries around the globe. Yesterday, students welcomed representatives from 3 non-profit organizations, including Jodi de la Pena, Executive Director at BRFN (Burma Refugee Family Network), Stephanie Heckman, Development Manager at International Rescue Committee, and Leva Zand, Development Director at CERI (Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants), to learn more about their efforts to support refugees in California. The panel spoke to the rewards of working with refugees and some of the challenges refugees have to overcome when adjusting to life in a new country. Panelists provided students with a unique perspective into the life of a refugee, and worked with students to brainstorm ways in which students could help to support and improve the lives of refugees.
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