RESPECT is growing everyday, everywhere!
Refugee School Information
WELCOME TO RESPECT
The stated goals of RESPECT are:
- To increase awareness of refugee issues among non-refugee students in participating countries.
- To build bridges between non-refugee students and refugee students through pen-pal letter exchange.
- To encourage students to act to raise awareness of refugee issues and to raise some funds for their refugee school.
BUILDING AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING OF REFUGEES
As stated earlier, the first goal of RESPECT is to increase awareness and understanding of refugee issues with non-refugee students around the world.
To this end, before corresponding with your students by letters, students here will have undergone some kind of refugee-awareness program. This would include but not be limited to, videos, books, research and discussion.
It order to facilitate this stage of RESPECT, it is our hope that you would be able to supply us with some of the following types of items so that we might properly introduce your school to your non-refugee school:
- Pamphlets/brochures describing your school
- Photographs/videos depicting your school
- A letter of greeting from a contact teacher at your school to the contact teacher here
These items, and any others you might have you think we might be interested in passing on, can be sent to us the contact address below. (Feel free to send this with your registration form and your first bunch of letters.)
GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER
The next step of RESPECT is for each class here to put in contact with a refugee school (or class).
Initially, this involves pairing a class of students here with a class of refugee students there. To prepare for stage two, RESPECT requests that the refugee school send their students' letters introducing themselves.
The first package of letters from a refugee school should not be greater than 30, unless more is specifically requested.
Only after those 30 students are introduced to students here will we be ready to accept more letters from your school. There are a few suggestions we want to make regarding this first letter exchange:
- Postcards showing a picture of the country in which your school is situated may be good for introducing yourself.
- Including a photograph would be greatly appreciated by the new pen-pal.
- Always be sure that students' names are NEATLY written on their letters somewhere so that the spelling is very clear.
- It is best if students include their sex and age in a very obvious location. (At the top of their letter, on the back of their letters if folded.) This is because some students here will be particular as to whether they would like a male or female pen-pal, and the age range they would like.
- Your students should also include specific information about the kind of pen-pal they would like. Male, female, age-range, even interests.
Please note the more specific your students are, the harder it will be to find a match for them.
Students are encouraged to communicate whatever they would like in their introductory letter. As much as possible it should be their own composition. Students should feel free to discuss their lives, past and present and future as much as they are comfortable doing so.
There are just a few guidelines we would like students to follow:
- It is important that students are aware that this is not an opportunity to ask for money, sponsorship, or gifts.
- It is not appropriate for students to request the phone number of their pen-pal in their first few letters. Students here will be encouraged to include a photograph with their letters, hand-drawn pictures, stickers, book-marks and the like. Gifts and such will not be recommended because it is believed that they will cause envy amongst your students and also it may increase the risk that letters with gifts from students here will not reach students there as they might be stolen.
As such, the refugee school's administration, teachers, students and their families must be going into this program with the knowledge that its main goal is cultural exchange.
Building bridges between non-refugee young people and refugee young people around the world. It is our hope that this is a very valuable experience for all involved.
Special note about expenses:
- If you have concerns that your school cannot participate in the RESPECT program due to financial issues, please contact us.
- The RESPECT Committee will evaluate the needs of individual schools on a case by case basis, and we want to work with you to facilitate your school's participation.
- Participating schools here are expected to include a number of international reply coupons with each batch of letters.
** Please contact us with any questions regarding financial issues.
ENHANCING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER
COMMUNITIES HELPING COMMUNITIES
This, ideally, is step three of RESPECT.
In this phase, teachers and student leaders at a non-refugee school organize some kind of fund-raiser in order to send a care package to you, their refugee school. The nature, magnitude, and even participation in this stage of the program is wholly up to the contact person at the non-refugee school.
Thus, it is best for you and your community to view this as a letter exchange program only - an opportunity to make friends with young people worldwide.
However, all participating groups here are being encouraged to try to organize some kind of fund-raiser here for the refugee school they are in contact with. Suggestions have included things such as bake sales, garage sales, talent shows and the like. Funds raised are then used to put together a care-package for the refugee school. Recommended items have included posters, English books, and used quality science related equipment.
It is RESPECT's belief that these fund-raising activities will be modest. It may take more than one school year before a participating class here decides that they are interested in attempting a fund-raiser.
RESPECT would like to make these facts very clear to participating refugee schools so as to not create false hopes in this program's outcome.
It is also RESPECT's expressed desire to eventually be in a position to ship large quantities of used school supplies to refugee schools around the world.
This is not a plan for the immediate future due to the great cost of such a project. RESPECT is currently looking into less expensive modes of shipping educational aid to refugee schools. After reading this information regarding RESPECT, if you are interested in registering to be a participant, please fill out the refugee school form.
You can send in this online registration form along with your first 30 letters. As long as everything is in order, we will do our best to introduce your students to non-refugee students within a month of two. Please be patient. Replies may come within weeks, they may come within months. It is wholly up to the participating school. We welcome you to RESPECT and hope that this is a positive experience for your students and for ours.