NATIONAL WEEK OF SOLIDARITY
September 6 - 12, 2020
National Child Protection Week
The National Week of Solidarity is a week of events, online and in-person, in schools and education centres across the country to support the call to ensure children and families seeking asylum have access to the social safety net during Covid-19.
There are currently around 16,000 children and young people seeking asylum in Australia, and their families have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic - economically, socially and emotionally. Many people seeking asylum work in highly precarious, service oriented sectors, and we have seen huge job losses among this group. Despite this, they remain ineligible for any substantive government support - JobSeeker, JobKeeper and some don’t even have access to Medicare. As such there is a huge need in our community, as people are forced into destitution, including being unable to buy food, medicines or pay rent.
Families seeking asylum are embedded into the communities they live in, particularly through children attending local schools. Teachers, principals and parents are seeing the direct impacts of the government's policies in their schools with some of their students becoming completely destitute. This action seeks to mobilise those schools and educators to stand in solidarity with children and families seeking asylum at this time.
No Child Left Behind
The No Child Left Behind campaign is being led by the Refugee Council of Australia in coalition with a number of other civil society organisations, including Jesuit Refugee Service, Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS), Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Brotherhood of St Laurence, Settlement Services International (SSI), Uniting Church, Welcoming Australia, Asylum Seekers Centre (ASC), The Humanitarian Group WA, Justice for Refugees SA and many others.
This coalition is supporting efforts by educators across the country to speak out about the current situation for many students seeking asylum. Led by retired principal Dorothy Hoddinott AO, this coalition of educators are joining the call to ensure no child, including children seeking asylum, is left behind during Covid-19.
Already 550 educators across the country have signed this joint statement to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston. Signatories to that letter include the Australian Education Union, Sydney Catholic Schools, Kildare Ministries, Independent Education Union Australia, and many others.
How to get involved in the National Week of Solidarity
Schools have a range of ways to be involved in the National Week of Solidarity. There will be official online events for students, teachers and parents, as well as resources for schools to organise their own events at school or online. Given some students may be in remote learning environments, there are a range of in-person and virtual events available.
1. Sign on to the education joint statement
We are collecting signatures from educators, parents and students, and the relevant bodies representing them, for a joint statement directed to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston. Add your name to the call for children and families seeking asylum to have support at this time, and share it widely!
Sign here ---> bit.ly/NoChildLeft
2. Attend one of our online events - Solidarity Webinar
Right across the country we are inviting students, parents, teachers and members of the public to attend an online event to show their solidarity with students seeking asylum who are struggling with limited support from the Federal government during Covid-19.
The Solidarity Webinars will be:
- Led by students seeking asylum or of refugee background, sharing a bit about their experiences and sharing their thoughts on the current situation
- Focused on how students, parents and educators can help support families seeking asylum at this time, such as running an MP letter writing activity, art project, or large school photo to be shared on social media spelling out ‘No Child Left Behind’
- 1 hour in duration
- Facilitated via Zoom Webinars and also live streamed to Facebook
- Repeated on the following dates:
3. Hold an event or activity at your school
Teachers, students and parents can access a range of resources in order to hold an event at their own school. You can access most resources on our Resources Page, however you will need to register your school to receive the video files.
- 2 x videos from families seeking asylum affected by Covid-19 to screen at a lunchtime event or assembly
- 2 x videos from teachers who have students seeking asylum who have been affected by Covid-19 to screen at a lunchtime event or assembly
- 2 x video from a Face2Face speaker sharing their experiences that the school can use for educational purposes (normally valued at $350)
- Graphics, posters and logos that can be used to promote the day around the school
Suggestions on what to do on the day, including:
- Hosting a lunchtime event showing the videos
- Taking a photo of staff and students holding a sign spelling out ‘No Child Left Behind’
- Running classroom activities with students
- Screening videos at lunchtime, assemblies or in home room classes
- Writing letter to the local federal MP about the situation (we will provide key points)
- Running an art project for the National Week of Solidarity
To learn more about the National Week of Solidarity you can watch the recording of 1 hour information webinar we ran: