Whitby Students Skype with Syrian Refugees

Mother and daughter Syrian refugees Fatemah and Bana Alabed answered questions from Whitby 4th and 6th graders via Skype. Contributed photo

Grade 4 and 6 students at Whitby School had a unique opportunity last month when they spoke with Syrian refugees Bana and Fatemah Alabed via Skype.

Fatemah, Bana and the rest of the Alabed family were forced from their home in Aleppo in December.

The pair gained notoriety after Fatemah (@FatemahAlabed) started a Twitter account for her daughter Bana (@AlabedBana) to document their experience of trying to simply stay alive while under constant threat of bombing.

Both grades 4 and 6 had been studying migration for the past couple months. Their studies covered the different reasons why people migrate, and this interactive experience furthered their learning. Fatemah began with an overview of their experience in Aleppo before students asked questions such as “What did you have to leave behind when you left?” and “Why do you think the war is still going on?”

“During our final official week of our unit on migration, this opportunity to speak with an inspirational Syrian refugee and her incredible activist daughter helped to breathe new life and even deeper inquiry into the stories our students have been reading about and listening to for weeks,” said Grade 4 Teacher Alyssa Smith.

Ms Smith said that  new questions that emerged following the experience were even more centered around summoning inner courage and perseverance.

“The power of a young child to raise awareness worldwide around an impossibly huge issue resonated with our students, as they all instinctively yearn to make a positive contribution to the world in which they live,” Smith continued.

“Having the opportunity to converse with the Alabeds was a lived experience of solidarity,” said Grade 6 Teacher Lindsay Sudeikis. “We walked away from the dialogue with hearts broken open and more united to our Syrian sisters and brothers.”

Grade 4 student Samantha Weber asks a question to Syrian refugee Bana Alabed via Skype. Contributed photo: Whitby School

 


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