How Am I Different? is a documentary series giving a voice to children living in challenging circumstances. Fourteen-year-old Sara and her mother arrived in the UK from Kosovo a year ago in the back of a lorry. The Medical Foundation, a charity for the victims of torture, is helping them with counselling and support as they apply for refugee status. Sara is determined to become a civil rights lawyer and has taught herself English by watching television. This programme follows her struggle to get a place in an English school as she and her mother are moved from one temporary accommodation to another.
"This is a stunning film that really enlightens us about the many barriers that young refugees face in the UK. However, her spirit and resilience not only moves and inspires, but also challenges us to reconsider our own ideas and perceptions of what are the needs of young refugees."
Bill Bolloten (www.refugeeeducation.co.uk)
This is a powerful video that all young people should see whether they live in areas where the pupil population is diverse or whether they live in areas where the pupil population is predominantly of one socio-economic, ethnic or religious background. It will provide a solid foundation for schools to help young people to learn to understand others, value diversity whilst also promoting shared values, promote awareness of human rights and to apply and defend them. This resource is also an excellent platform to kick-start a variety of discussions and group activities, and follow-up work could be planned to meet the needs of individuals.
The strength of this resource lies in the fact that it is based on a very personal story, narrated from the perspective of a young person. Whilst geographers may feel the need to provide some background and spatial perspective to the story, the video is inherently about the struggle of two people trying to settle into UK society and it has a firm foundation in the basic concepts of the new secondary curriculum - place, interdependence and cultural understanding and diversity. At the same time, it is a valuable resource for geographers to make a significant contribution to the schools role in promoting community cohesion.