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Inspirational Talk on the Refugee Crisis

Annabel Taylor-Ross, former Head of PSHE and Careers Adviser at Blundells School, delivered a thought-provoking talk entitled "Blankets or Barriers" to Years 9 and 12 students. The talk explored the complex issues surrounding migration, race, and identity.

With a diverse background that includes serving as a Captain in the British Army and working in humanitarian aid in conflict zones, Annabel brought a wealth of personal experiences and knowledge to the discussion. She addressed the various reasons people leave their homes, whether forced, voluntary, economic, or due to man-made and natural disasters, including environmental factors. 

Annabel highlighted the personal side of fleeing, delving into the dilemmas of what to take, who goes, who stays, and the logistical challenges faced by those seeking refuge. By weaving in relevant facts and figures, she painted a comprehensive picture of the global scale of the issue, both internationally and within the UK. 

One of the most compelling aspects of Annabel’s talk was her focus on individual stories to foster empathy among the students. She shared the firsthand account of an Afghan friend who runs a charity in Afghanistan, providing refuge for women fleeing violence. Her friend's own experience of being forced to flee when the Taliban took over Kabul in August 2022 resonated deeply with the students. 

Moreover, Annabel shed light on the legal aspects surrounding asylum applications, introducing the pupils to international humanitarian law and the UK legal system. This broader understanding allowed the students to engage with the complexities of the topic and contemplate the question posed in the talk's premise: Should we welcome refugees with blankets, or turn them away with barriers to protect our overwhelmed health, school, housing, and social services? 

Mrs Morgan, Head of PSHCE said, "Annabel Taylor-Ross's talk was truly inspirational and aligned seamlessly with the PSHCE scheme of work, specifically within the Migration, Race, and Identity module. By addressing immigration, refugees, and asylum seekers, Annabel provided a space for open dialogue and helped shape the students' understanding of the world around them. She brought real-world experiences to our students, helping them develop empathy and a deeper appreciation for the challenges faced by those seeking refuge. It was a powerful reminder of the importance of understanding and embracing diversity." 

The impact of Annabel's talk is sure to resonate with the students for years to come, fostering a generation of compassionate and informed individuals who will contribute positively to society.