Ipswich School students support Refugee Crisis Appeal

Last Friday (20 November 2015) saw the conclusion of Ipswich School’s Refugee Crisis Appeal, raising money for the Red Cross’s work to assist refugees, and raising awareness of some of the issues facing refugees amongst pupils.

The events were masterminded by a group of Sixth Form pupils, supported by staff, and included fund raising, concerts, sponsorships and special lessons.

There was unanimous support for a Solidarity Lunch in which hundreds of pupils and staff sacrificed their usual choice of a variety of school lunch options for a simpler meal of vegetables, lentils and rice, and pupils were able to ‘wear their own clothes’ rather than school uniform for a small donation.

A clothes collection also took place with pupils donating clothes and toys for the Red Cross’s #ShopDrop initiative to support the charity’s efforts in Europe and refugee camps around Syria.  A lunchtime rock concert and break time busking also raised money from students.

Awareness raising has been a key part of the appeal.  Assemblies during the week provided information about refugees, including a talk from representatives from Suffolk Refugee Support about refugees who have sought asylum in the county.  Pupils in Year 7 and 8 had special refugee-themed lessons in their humanities subjects, whilst a number of Sixth Formers were sponsored to speak only a foreign language all day to experience the language barriers which a refugee may face in a new country.

All students and staff who took part in the refugee activities were given a yellow wristband to wear, to remind them of the issues raised and their contribution to the events.

Will Johnston-Wood, from Year 12, was one of the pupils whose idea the Refugee Crisis Week was.  He said: “Originally we thought we would just discuss some of the issues facing refugees, but people had ideas about raising money as well as awareness, and things just went from there.  I’m amazed at how much support there was amongst pupils, and I want to thank them all for their contributions in organising events and donating clothes and money.”

Headmaster Nicholas Weaver added: “I am extremely proud of the way in which the whole school has pulled together to support the Refugee Crisis Appeal, and particularly the way some of our senior pupils have taken the lead on their own initiative.  We haven’t counted all the donations yet, but it looks like the total will run to over a thousand pounds.  All the money raised will go to the Red Cross to assist their humanitarian work, particularly to help the children who have been caught up in the crisis.”

The Refugee Crisis Appeal is one example of the community and charity work carried out by Ipswich School pupils and staff each year.  For more information on the school’s community impact, visit www.ipswich.school/community

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