What is a School of Sanctuary?
A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment that benefits everybody, especially families seeking sanctuary. It is a school that helps it students, staff, parents, and the wider community to understand what it means to be a refugee and to extend a welcome to everyone regardless of their status.
Schools of Sanctuary is not a project, nor a short-term school initiative. It is a culture that schools achieve over time to ensure everyone feels welcomed, safe, and included in the school and beyond. It begins with 3 core principles,” Learn, Take Action and, Share”.
Principle No 1 Learn:
Schools start learning about refugees and hearing their stories, why people are forced to flee their countries, and the issues, and challenges people are facing in Ireland. Also, we learn about the cultures, traditions, food, and languages of people who have come to our community.
Principle No 2 Take Action:
Now that Schools have developed an understanding of the refugees and asylum process in Ireland, we make an action plan of ways we can support refugees locally and nationally.
Here are some good examples of what schools of Sanctuary do:
- Invite newcomers to share their culture & stories in diversity celebrations.
- Prioritize English Language and other supports for newcomer students .
- Invite Sanctuary Ambassadors to describe their experience of Direct Provision and arriving in Ireland.
- Create ‘Welcome Packs’ in different languages for parents
Principle No 3 Share:
- Schools reach out to other schools in their areas to encourage them, and to share good practice, successes and stories.
- They share their SoS journey on their website and social media platforms.
- Some schools contact media outlets and produce video and audio campaigns around Schools of Sanctuary.
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