The Truth about Syrian Refugee Camps

WORLD

The crisis is even bigger than we thought, and the conditions are explosive. Here are five things we need to keep in mind. (National Geographic News)

Use our resources to better understand the refugee crisis.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah recently returned from weeks spent at a summer camp for Syrian children at a refugee camp in Turkey, where he took this photo of boys being boys. Photograph courtesy Aziz Abu Sarah, National Geographic

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah recently returned from weeks spent at a summer camp for Syrian children at a refugee camp in Turkey, where he took this photo of boys being boys.
Photograph courtesy Aziz Abu Sarah, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas
Watch our “Picture of Practice” video “Understanding Self Through Media.” In the video, a 7th-grade teacher reviews how she helps her students create “media-to-self” and “peer-to-self” connections. The class focus is on a small group of Sudanese refugees to the U.S.—a wholly different experience from that faced by Syrian refugees in camps throughout the Middle East. Still, her outline may be abstracted to help understand the Syrian refugee crisis.

  • Review media to establish comprehension. (3:43) Review the NG News article to make connections.
    • Why does author Aziz Abu Sarah say Syrian refugee camps “are like a prison”? What are some differences between a refugee camp and an actual prison?
      • Similarities: “The moment you enter a refugee camp, you are registered and confined to a gated and fenced space that you are not allowed to exit and re-enter of your own free will,” Abu Sarah says.
      • Differences: The conditions in the camps are so oppressive, Abu Sarah ways, that some Syrians choose to return to their war-torn homeland instead of the relative safety of the camps—real prisoners don’t have that option! Refugees also live with their family and friends when they can, another option not available to real prisoners.
  • Analyze media to improve critical thinking skills. (5:23) Review the NG News article to analyze content.
    • With food, water, and shelter as pressing needs, why does author Aziz Abu Sarah list a “lack of education” as a major crisis facing Syrian refugees?
      • Eventually, the Syrian civil war will end, and Syria will need capable lawyers, doctors, businessmen, construction engineers, etc. to build a new society. Abu Sarah gives another major reason education is important: “[F]ive years from now, due to this lack of foresight, the world will have to deal with an uneducated and very possibly disenfranchised generation that is ripe for radicalization.”
  • Synthesize information to increase knowledge and self-awareness. (6:19) Review the NG News article to provide context.
    • “No country in the world has the ability to cope with a 17 percent increase in its population over a mere 12 months,” according to the NG News article. What is the population of your country, state, town, or school? Increase that population by 17%. (Take the number, multiply it by .17, then add that number to the original population figure.)
      • What infrastructure would have to change to accommodate this new population?
        • new classrooms, teachers, or schools?
        • new roads, homes, and health-care facilities?
        • Where would the money for this new infrastructure come from?
        • Would there have to be additional infrastructure if the new population had a different culture than the host country, state, town, or school?
          • new language facilities or dietary options?
          • new businesses, such as restaurants or clothing stores, catering to different food and fashion tastes?

2 responses to “The Truth about Syrian Refugee Camps

  1. Pingback: Record Number of Internally Displaced Persons | Nat Geo Education Blog·

  2. Pingback: “Oslo Peace” twenty years on | My East-West·

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