Oral History Projects: Understanding the Migrant and Refugee Experience
Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
What is an oral history project focused on a global issue?
Oral history projects provide students the opportunity to document and preserve family histories. These projects provide an authentic means for students to learn about their own histories, or the histories of others. They require students to engage in the following:
- Structuring and conducting interviews
- Synthesizing information
- Making choices about how to present information
Oral history projects can also be a powerful tool for meaningful learning about a member of one’s community. Interviews often reveal personal, social, economic or cultural factors that affect a person’s experiences and identity. Oral histories can bring a human element to a theme that may otherwise seem distant or foreign to students.
Now, how do I make this project authentic?
Knowing more about the migrant and refugee experience is critical for students to understand. These global issues provide a variety of concepts to investigate. Including factors that impact poverty, education, hunger, and equity. Opportunities to learn firsthand about the experience of migrants and refugees help students to develop their empathy and social emotional skills. First, it is critical for students to know the difference between migrants and refugees.
A migrant is a person who makes a conscious decision to leave their country to seek a better life elsewhere. Before they decide to leave their country, migrants can seek information about their new home, study the language and explore employment opportunities. They can plan their travel, take their belongings with them and say goodbye to the important people in their lives. They are free to return home at any time if they wish to visit family members and friends left behind.
Refugees are forced to leave their country because they are at risk of, or have experienced persecution. The concerns of refugees are human rights and safety, not economic advantage. They leave behind their homes, most or all of their belongings, family members and friends. Some are forced to flee with no warning and many have experienced significant trauma or been tortured or otherwise ill-treated. The journey to safety is hazardous and many refugees risk their lives in search of protection. They cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves. (UNHCR)
Try this virtual project with your students and watch how history will unfold right before their eyes!
Here is an example: