Through the eyes of a child: Refugee children speak about violence

The Child Rights Information Network regular e-bulletin has announced the availability of a new resource entitled Through the eyes of a child – refugee children speak about violence.

From CRIN: “Life for any refugee can be difficult; life for a child refugee is doubly difficult. As one young refugee told the UN refugee agency: ‘We are always living in fear’.”

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees organized a series of workshops over 3 years on the issues facing refugee children in 8 countries in Southern African. The workshops involved refugee children, honouring the United Convention on the Rights of the Child article 12 on the child’s right to participate.

UNHCR used a participatory assessment approach, involving children through art, asking children to express themselves through drawings.

“UNHCR sought to give refugee children a voice in defining and resolving their problems, and to ensure that their voice was heard by adults. Thus an important outcome of the participatory assessments was that the attention of camp and related personnel, as well as parents and caretakers, was drawn to the needs and rights of children and their obligation to fulfil them,” the report said.” The study concluded that the greatest impact of the participatory assessments was to give a voice to the children, which increased their self-confidence and the respect they received from adults. Field staff report concrete improvements in the lives of children and the approach is now being used by UNHCR in other areas of the world”.

For more information, contact: United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Geneva 2 Depot, Switzerland, Tel: +41.22.739.8111.

CBC Toronto series: Toronto’s mosaic, a reality check

CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning Ontario Today show is airing a week-long series on immigration, diversity and multiculturalism starting Mon March 3/08. CBC TV will air similar segments on the evening news. Radio-Canada will carry the series in French.

Toronto’s Mosaic: A Reality Check will explore the following issues:

  • Discrimination that new Torontonians experience.
  • Cultural stereotypes and neighbourhood enclaves.
  • Traditions – home traditions vs. Canadian traditions.
  • Racism.
  • What does it mean to become a Canadian?

The CBC website has links to several useful resources, including background, statistics, and links to sources with further information.

CBC news also maintains another good site with information (beyond Toronto) entitled “Immigration in Canada: From 1947 to 2017“.

On Thursday, March 6, the CBC will host a Town Hall and invites Torontonians to attend and participate in the discussion. The event will be held at the Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Broadcastng Centre, 250 Front St. West. The event begins at 7:30, doors open at 6:45.

Panelists include:

Let’s all call in to the vox-box and raise the issues of immigrant children. Here’s how to reach the CBC with your comments: 1.866.648.6714.

The refugee forum: New program at Ottawa’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre

The Refugee Forum is a new program of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa. It is funded by the Maytree Foundation. The Forum will study and comment on Canada’s asylum system and address research, analysis and communication.

From the web-page: “The ultimate objective of the Forum is to develop and promote positive improvements to Canada’s asylum system as well as to raise public awareness of refugee issues”.

See the Refugee Forum web-page for more information.

Immigrant children in Canadian history

As a grad student on placement at the Toronto-based Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies (CERIS) in 2005, I compiled a bibliography of holdings in the CERIS library about immigrant and refugee children and youth.

I’d like to start compiling an annotated bibliography of books and other resources about the history of immigration and immigration policy in Canada that either focus on or include sections on/about children.

Kelly, N. & Trebilcock, M. (1998). The making of the mosaic: A history of Canadian immigration policy is one.

Kenneth Bagnell’s The Little immigrants: the orphans who came to Canada (1980 & 2001) is a classic. It tells the story of the home children.

Another account of the home children is Marj Kohli‘s 2003 The Golden bridge: Young immigrants to Canada (1833-1939).

I am currently reading Valerie Knowles’ updated 1992 Strangers at our gates: Canadian immigration and immigration policy, 1540-2006, which has a short section on the home children and guest children.

Please share any books with/out annotations – or other resources – that address or include children in the history of immigration and immigration policy in Canada. I’ll maintain a page for this for us in our “pages” section, see right-hand side of the blog.

Anti-bias tool

A few years ago, I looked at the widely known and used Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) and developed an anti-bias tool that would use the same format as the ECERS does with the “Notes for Clarification” but with a focus on diversity issues.

See antibias.htm

Please feel free to use and comment on the tool. I’d be interested in learning how this tool is or is not useful/applicable today as well as any other comments.

Your right to education: A handbook for refugees and displaced communities

US-based Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, with funding from the Pearson Foundation, has released a publication aimed at children and their teachers on every child’s right to education.

Your Right to Education is a second in a series developed to improve access to quality education for displaced communities. The first book, Right to Education during Displacement: A resource for organizations working with refugees and internally displaced persons, was developed for international and local organizations, the United Nations and governments working with displaced communities.

The book is illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winner. The book has been translated into several languages. For information on the handbook, including where and how to download it, see the Child Rights Information Network website/webpage.