Handaq Boys Secondary school within St Ignatius College always sought the value of inter- culture as being the backbone for cohesion and collaboration to bring unity within the school community. As time goes by, our school is continuously welcoming students and personnel of various cultural backgrounds. Aware of the present and future challenges, our school strives to address such challenges by presenting to the school community the social realities which many times are highlighted and convey a negative message through media and various individuals within our society.
The Personal and Social Development within the same College, for the past couple of years, invited members from the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) to carry out interactive sessions in order to help in bringing awareness amongst Form 2 students. The main objective of the sessions was to foster a spirit of unity through diversity while respecting and appreciating the great sacrifices and hardships certain individuals go through to fight for a decent living free from war, threats and repression from the right of expression: rights in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, (UDHR 1948).
It is very interesting to observe students reactions during these sessions. Our guests were welcomed with great enthusiasm while giving a vivid and clear picture of the whole reality. The session was divided into two. The first part was an interactive discussion with the help of a visual presentations and maps showing the place of origin of our guests. The questions put forward by students are a clear demonstration of the students’ willingness to know more about the refugees’ situations while comparing those realities with the students’ present lives taking into account family, food, education, technology, friendships and other issues. During this year’s sessions students asked questions directly related to the experience of the risky boat trip from the African continent. Apart from all this, the students became more conscious about the great distances that immigrants need to cover to find themselves in the European continent. The second part of the session was a musical session where students were given the opportunity to play an African percussion instrument known as Ngomo or Djembe. This fun activity transformed the classroom environment in a collage of a mixture of intercultural sounds and rhythms expressed by our students directed by our guest speakers; musical sounds which left a positive atmosphere to the rest of the school community.
Such activities surely leave educational benefits amongst our students. Attitudes are changed and wrong concepts are set right. It is impressive how the students welcomed such an activity. The interesting and mature questions and issues raised demonstrated how eager student are to know the true reality of the trauma and distress refugees go through in the hope for a better and promising future.Mariella Farrugia PR
Mario Cucciardi B.Ed (Hons) PGDEAM
Head of Department Personal and Social Development