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Presented by: Fatumah Mbabaali.  In groups of 3 to 5 discuss and write down: Who are war affected children and youth. What does the term/word “belonging”

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Presentation on theme: "Presented by: Fatumah Mbabaali.  In groups of 3 to 5 discuss and write down: Who are war affected children and youth. What does the term/word “belonging”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Presented by: Fatumah Mbabaali

2  In groups of 3 to 5 discuss and write down: Who are war affected children and youth. What does the term/word “belonging” mean to you.

3 War affected children and youth (a) lived in a war zone (b) participated in war by killing (c) experienced the threats of being killed (d) been tortured or injured (e) been displaced resulting in becoming refugees (f) been recruited as soldiers or sex slaves (g) have parents in military (h) suffered from starvation and disease due to poor sanitation and malnutrition as a result of war

4 Children as young as 8 years old are abducted and trained to kill (Walugembe)


6 Refugee  The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defined refugees as persons who are residing outside their countries and cannot return due to a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular group (Colak & Fantino, 2001).

7 Belonging  Webster’s New World Dictionary (3 rd Edition)  Be – long ‘Be’ is to exist, live ‘long’ – to feel a strong yearning, wish earnestly  be – longing

8  Belonging Webster’s New World Dictionary (3 rd Edition)  To have a proper or suitable place, to be part of, be related or connected to, to be a member of, to be owned and to be the owner

9 Belonging Related words:  Fellowship, relationship, association, partnership, loyalty, attachment, inclusion, affinity, closeness, rapport, affiliation, kinship, happiness, comfortableness, connection,  (Encarta)

10 Belonging from a kid’s perspective:  14 year old girl  To be included in conversations, be part of the group, have things in common with others, not being judged by others, not being the only black kid in the class  12 year old girl  To fit in a group or family, feel loved and respected by friends, teachers and family  19 year old boy  Fitting in

11 Fiske, S.T. (2004)  Belongingness is the human need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, or a sports team, humans have an inherent desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. William Glasser noted that:???  We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.

12  The need to form at least a minimum quantity of affectively positive connections within one’s context.  For example, connections to key individuals within the students’ school  In his research, students felt a sense of belonging through their perceived teacher support, respect and care

13  The psychological sense of community may be defined as “the sense that one belongs in and is meaningfully part of a larger collectivity; … the sense that there is a network of and structure to relationships; … the perception of being similar to other community members; recognition of the interdependency between members…; [where] the sense of community involves the sense of belonging, membership, and personal involvement; integration and the satisfaction of needs, connection and emotional involvement

14 Rutter (2003) noted the following effects of war:  Separation from parents /immediate family, witnessing parents’ fear and panic, rape, loss of home, family, personal property, community, culture, camp life, lack of proper education, presence of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis  Children assume the role of parenting their siblings  Loss of extended family support – some refugee youth immigrate to Canada unaccompanied  Many become street beggars, prolonged stays in refugee camps (colak &Fantino, 2001)  Many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

15 Loss of identity:  Loss of one’s name – A.S.’s story  Loss of culture  Language  Loss of one’s nationality  Unknown birthdates  Loss of some or all the above may create a lack of clear identity and thus one may want to re-establish that identity

16  Refugee youth may feel delineated by the new language, skills, food, clothing, housing, daily living routines, etc.  They find themselves in a nuclear family system vs a communal family system  Refugee children may find that they have lost their parent’s attention and support” (Rutter, 2003).  In consideration of all these challenges in addition to the traumatic war experiences, war affected immigrant youth find themselves in a predicament too vast to overcome independently. This leads to the question: could the sense of belonging be central to the academic performance of these students?

17  Lack of a sense of belonging may lead to:  Loneliness, isolation, depression, low self esteem, thus low motivation and low achievement (Faircloth)  The presence of a sense belonging may lead to:  Happiness, involved, high self-esteem, high motivation, thus high achievement

18  In groups of 3 - 5 discuss the different strategies/activities you’ve used OR could be utilized to reinforce a sense of belonging among war affected/refugee children.

19  War affected children like all traumatised children, “…need a rich social environment, one where they could belong and be loved”.  …they need a healthy community to buffer the pain, distress and loss caused by their earlier trauma. (Perry & Szalavitz, p.232).

20  First language translation services, help in locating permanent housing and accessing English language classes, community orientation, referrals to health and social services, including professional counselling services (Colak & Fantino, 2001).  Introduce a parent mentoring/buddy system where refugee parents and Canadian parents spend time together

21 Factors specific to school (Faircloth, 2010)  Allow students to “speak their identity”  Listen to their life stories, a person’s life story is his/her history and a person’s history is his/her identity  Use novels, topics that relate to the students’ lives  Allow students to share their culture through food, clothing, games, songs, dances and languages (have students teach/present in their language)  Utilize their expertise – music, running, math, etc (make them feel valued and respected)  Create and encourage a buddy system between refugee and Canadian born students

22 School initiatives (Kanu, 2008):  Opening of a refugee transition centre where refugee students are taught Canadian life skills  Providing teachers with workshops on war affected children  Provide a workplace preparation program for students  Include foods familiar to refugee students on the menu in the school cafeteria  After school programs for students, parents and other community members to (arts and crafts, computer access, tea/coffee nights

23  One key factor in determining success is the reception of newcomers by the host society. Settlement support services, schools, health and social services, and the community at large play a crucial role in assisting and supporting children to adjust and integrate into Canadian society (Colak & Fantino, 2001).  By making our students feel accepted, included, comfortable, connected, valued, respected, we may instil a sense of belonging in them.

24  By instilling a sense of belonging in refugee students, we may be strengthening their relationship with teachers, which is central to their connection to the class, their engagement, and success (Faircloth, 2010)  However, we must note that “How well children adapt is influenced by several factors, including age at arrival, severity of previous traumatic events, family background, individual resiliency, and reception by the host community and society (Colak & Fantino, 2001).


26  Do you believe in me?  Google either his name or the above phrase on

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