Lessons of the struggles of refugees were experienced by having elementary students take a refugee empathy walk.
At Sommer Elementary School, students to to take a hard look at the struggles that refugees face and learned facts about the global refugee crisis as well as gaining empathy.
The front of the school was transformed into a tour of South American countries. Students picked up clothing, shoes, water bottles and a backpack before the walk that simulated refugees fleeting their homes. They walked the path twice then rolled a die with 20 sides at each of the nine countries. The only way to gain entry was to roll a six.
Items that were carried during the walk, including 50 backpacks, clothing, 130 pairs of shoes and over 50 unopened gallons of water were dontated to the Refugee Services of Texas.
Gifted and talented students in fourth and fifth grades began research on refugees in October, according to talented and gifted math teacher Revathi Balakrishnan. She was named Texas Teacher of the Year, and had to pause the project during that time. She worked with physical education teachers Dennis Burs and Amy Osteen to present the walk, which had an athletic component as well.
Students ready articles on the migration of refugees. “There are around 15 million refugees in the world, and typically they have to get to counties with very poor transportation like inflatable boats and get smuggled into countries in pick-up trucks,” said Rishi Koneru, fifth-grade talented and gifted student.