Children Uprooted 


CHILDREN UPROOTED  Nearly 50 million children are on the move. Some are driven from their homes by conflict, poverty or disaster; others are migrating in the hope of finding a better, safer life. Far too many encounter danger, detention, deprivation and discrimination on their journeys. Migrant, refugee and displaced children are children first. Children should feel safe from violence and exploitation. They should be able to stay with their families. They shouldn’t have to miss school or not be able to go to the doctor. They shouldn’t fear xenophobia or discrimination. They should be able to feel at home – wherever home is. Learn about some of the experiences and challenges faced by children who have come to Ireland.

We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. 


people have been forced to flee their home. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

Learning Objectives

  1. Define the impact displacement has on children’s rights.
  2. Identify the root cause of displacement and migration.
  3. Relate the personal loss expereinced by children and young people forced to flee their home.
  4. Describe the relationship between individual and group identities.

Curriculum Connections


Statements of Learning (SOL)

SOL 6: The student has an awareness of personal values and an understanding of the process of moral decision-making.

SOL 7: The student values what it means to be an active citizen, with rights and responsibilities in local and wider contexts.

SOL 9: The student understands the origin and impacts of social, economic, and environmental aspects of the world around her/him.

SOL 10: The student has the awareness, knowledge, skills, values and motivation to live sustainably.

SOL 11: The student takes action to safeguard and promote her/his wellbeing and that of others

SOL 23: Brings an idea from conception to realisation

JC WELLBEING – This programme works on achieving the following Well-being indicators. Responsible – I take action to protect and promote my wellbeing and that of others Connected – I feel connected to my school, my friends, my community and the wider world. I appreciate that my actions and interactions impact on my own wellbeing and that of others, in local and global contexts. Respected – I feel that I am listened to and valued. I have positive relationships with my friends, my peers and my teachers. I show care and respect for others.

CSPE Strand 1- 1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11; Strand 2- 2.1, 2.5, 2.9, 2.10.

English  Strand 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5.

Geography Strand 3- 3.2.

RE Strand 3 – 3.1, 3.2, 3.5.

SPHE Strand 1 – 1.2, 1.8, 1.9;  Strand 2 – 2.3; Strand 3- 3.3.



POLITICS & SOCIETY  ,   Strand 2- Topic 3- 3.2, 3.3, 3.4; Topic 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4.

Strand 3- Topic 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4; Topic 6- 6.1, 6.2, 6.3.

Strand 4 – Topic 7.4.


Asylum seeker– a person who has left their home country as a political refugee and is seeking asylum in another
Refugee– a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
Migrant– a person who migrates to another region or country, usually for permanent residence.
Migration – is moving from one region to another. This movement can be within a country or outside of the national borders. Often migration connotes large numbers of people on the move.
Immigrant – a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

Children Uprooted

A Growing Crisis for Children

Why Children are on the Move

The small African region with more refugees than all of Europe

Teaching Notes

This topic aims to help children understand the reasons for migration and the effects migration has on children and young people. Through engaging with a variety of workshop activities, children will ‘walk in someone else’s shoes’ and begin to understand the choices and consequences involved in migration. They should be able to distinguish between the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’, be aware of the current global migrant crisis. On a national level, children can be encouraged to discover information about Irish organisations which assist refugees globally and within their local communities. During all activities, personal reflection is to be encouraged with use of the Learner Journal tasks. Cross-curricular links can be made to Geography, History, Drama and English as well as SHPE or CSPE. Many suggested workshop activities can be easily adapted for either Primary or Secondary. However, audio-visual resources should be checked carefully for suitability dependent on the maturity and ability-range of class members.

CRC Rights most impacted by displacement.

Article 2: All children have all these rights, no matter who they are, where they live, what language they speak, what their religion is, what they think, what they look like, if they are a boy or girl, if they have a disability, if they are rich or poor, and no matter who their parents or families are or what their parents or families believe or do. No child should be treated unfairly for any reason.

Article 6: Every child has the right to be alive. Governments must make sure that children survive and develop in the best possible way.

Article 8: Children have the right to their own identity – an official record of who they are which includes their name, nationality and family relations. No one should take this away from them, but if this happens, governments must help children to quickly get their identity back.


Article 10: If a child lives in a different country than their parents, governments must let the child and parents travel so that they can stay in contact and be together.

Article 22: Children who move from their home country to another country as refugees (because it was not safe
for them to stay there) should get help and protection and have the same rights as children born in that country.

Article 38: Children have the right to be protected during war. No child under 15 can join the army or take part in war.

Article 39: Children have the right to get help if they have been hurt, neglected, treated badly or affected by war, so they can get back their health and dignity.


Leaving Home

Introduction: Watch one of the two videos above to introduce the class to some of the reasons why children are uprooted and forced to leave home.

Discussion: “What would cause you to leave Ireland, knowing you might not ever return?”  War, conflict, oppression, persecution because of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, poverty, climate change / natural disasters, better quality of life, famine, crop failure, high crime

“What emotions or impact would you be feeling when making this decision?” Fear, hunger, desperation, sadness, hope, loss, dread, apprehension, shame, determination, anxiety.

“What forced Irish people to migrate?” Famine (late 1840s) Poverty (1900s) Employment (2000s)

“What would you be seeking?” Safety, peace, security, job, employment, education, opportunity.

“Which of these is a human or child right?” Refer to the Convention on the Rights of the Child Poster.

Activity: Watch one of the videos below, Based on the videos, ask the participants to create a scenario of a young refugee or migrant on the move. The description should include:

  • What country they live in?
  • What the situation is like in that country and why they are leaving?
  • What their living conditions are like?
  • What incident happened that lead them to make their decision?
  • Where they are trying to go to?

The Journey

Discussion: What is lost when you decide to leave your home? Ask participants to think about thier home here in Ireland. What would they be leaving behind and what would they miss most if they were forced to leave. Suggestions, culture, language, family, friends, neighbours, security, feeling they belong to a place, food, smells, landscape, weather, control of your life or your future.

Activity: Ask groups to make a list of what they would pack for their journey. Prompt participants with:

  • What will you bring from home that is important to you? – People, pets, toys, food, photos, jewellery.
  • What items will you need to bring on your journey? – Clothes, hygiene, medicine, survival equipment,  phone, charger, coats, blankets, food, money, passport, water, documents, knife, matches.​