Empathising with refugees

It was a delight to have children, parents, guardians and teachers from Slaithwaite Junior and Infant C of E School to celebrate ‘Harvest Festival’ at St James Church this week.

This Harvest Festival gave a voice to social justice by looking at fair trade and where our food and clothes come from, considered the life of refugees and looked at the experience of Harvest Festivals around the world (and in different religions). The children sang beautiful harvest related songs and led the whole congregation of parents, teachers and students in prayer.

It was deeply moving to hear that Willow Class had been learning about refugees. The children had been listening to refugee stories, and from those stories wrote poetry to express how they felt. Several of the school children read their heart-felt poems.

It was hard to hear such painful words from young children, but we reflected on how these poems speak of the real-life experience of refugees. The teachers and children have given their permission to reproduce the poetry here…

Willow Class write…

The Journey of a refugee

Fire swallowing buildings whole
Bombs creating giant holes
Their hearts are broken
Their homes are broken
Blood-curdling screams echo in the air
Bombs shooting from the enemys lair

The weights of their bags on their shoulders
Climbing over giant boulders
The border guards with their guns in their belts
Their coat full of gunshot, holes in its felts

The waves taunt and tease as they battle the seas
The boat shakes violently in the icy breeze
Everybody was really silent
The waves were really violent

Home is now a safe place
Now home is ace
They are free
Even though they are a refugee

Maddie, Willow Class


Bombs blasting as planes lurk in the sky
Blood-curdling screams and gun shots echo through the air
Buildings crumbling and life fading
Two shots to the head could be the end?

The safety of England mended her shattered heart
Home is now where she lays her sleepy head
Now no bombs to be seen
Dreams are back in her life

Nell, Willow Class

The Journey of a Refugee (2)

Death ablaze on the bricks and cement
Planes lurk ready to dive-bomb and capture,
Noises of terror in the air,
They must escape the hounds of hell
A home made from fear

Survival and pain tear them from the bone
Nothing feels like home
Walking in the mist
Who is with them?
Who will welcome them?
A little heart in a big world

Waves taunt and tease as the
Refugees plead
Nothing can save them from evils Greed
They feel like pinpricks in the great sea

As the sun sets they live again
England is the safety that fixs there
Hearts again
The feel of safety makes there hearts rise
They are happy

Brendan, Willow Class


Home was… peaceful and quiet until…
Home was torture and sadness
Home was fire urging
Home was suspicious planes searching
Home was a bomb sight
Home was ash and a pile of bricks

Home is… peaceful and quiet
Home is where I play at the park
Home is where I go to school
Home is me fixing my shattered heart
Home is where I lay my sleepy head
Home is safe

Reuben, Willow Class