During this half term, the children at Sinclair have taken part in a walk to sanctuary within our school grounds. Our significant focus walk came from Walk with Amal. Did you know she has travelled 8,000 km and through 8 countries! We wanted to partake in the walk to refuge in order to contextualise the length that refugees have travelled to sanctuary.
Here is an insight from Year 2 on the event:
We were very excited in Year 2 as the Walk to Sanctuary Day had finally arrived. The sun was out and we wrapped up in our winter coats, scarves and gloves for the challenge that lay ahead of us. We lined up in the hall full of excitement and were joined by Year 1.
The upper year groups had already completed their 1km earlier that day and were beaming with pride as they returned to the lovely warm hub of our school. Happily, we set out into the crisp cold air with the sun warming our red faces. Everybody was positive and feeling confident that we could complete the full 1km distance. Mr Pallett led us out and we began to circle the perimeter of the school like one long colourful snake. Cries of, ‘This is easy!’ and ‘Let’s do 10 laps!’ could be heard from the children at the front of the long twisting line of children. However, as we strode further and further into our challenge, the line began to fracture, as legs became tired and whispers of how far to go reached our teacher's ears.
After a few laps, we started to realise that this walk was only a fraction of the distance refugees have to walk. This was the moment we began to contextualise struggle and distance. We discussed, at great lengths, the battles that the families seeking refuge may have also faced as well. It definitely helped us to appreciate the sanctuary we have available to us. We discussed that many of our needs are met, without us having to think of them. How humbled we were!
As we completed the full distance a big cheer erupted and our tired legs welcomed a well-earned rest. As we sat quietly warming up in our class room, we reflected upon the struggles refugees have in finding a place of sanctuary. We discussed the impact the walk had on us in helping to understand challenging journeys that many young children face in times of difficulty.
Here lies our thoughts and responses that we discussed whilst on our walk:
What makes a place feel safe?
‘A place that shelters you from difficulty.’
‘When people listen to you.’
‘A place that feels warm, comfortable and you are not alone.’
‘Safety can look different. It can be people being kind to each other and it can be being away from war. Safety is a need, in order to survive and then thrive.’
‘A safe place is somewhere you feel happy, comfortable and loved, while trusting the people you are surrounded by.’
Why do people seek sanctuary?
‘To escape from harm. People are in search of peace, safety and support.’
‘People seek sanctuary to feel safe and so that they are protected from what may have been causing them harm.‘
‘To find a place where they feel protected, safe and secure.’
How do we welcome people into our sanctuary?
‘We play with them. We show them that they are part of our family and we care about them.’
‘We welcome them by smiling. It is a way of showing that we are friendly.’
‘We promote positive attitudes and treat everybody at Sinclair Primary as an equal, valued member of our school community, ensuring a sense of belonging. ‘
‘We love and accept people for who they are, letting them know that they are safe and cared for, no matter what.’
The children have since completed a footprint of welcome and we have displayed these as an art installation within our school. Our footprint trail begins from our welcoming school entrance towards a central display in school. In our display, you will see the thoughts on the importance of sanctuary, from all of our school community. We are particularly passionate about how we can make our school a warm, welcoming place for everyone. As a school we would like to ensure we support refugees around the globe and make our school a place of welcome for others.
Our wider partnership school family has also been walking and reflecting upon the journeys those seeking sanctuary face. This has sparked curiosity to find out whether we have collaboratively reached a distance similar to Amal. We discovered that as a partnership that we have covered a distance of 1,377km. This is under a ¼ of Amal’s brave journey.
You can find more about Amal walk here: https://www.walkwithamal.org/