By Lucy Ashton
Pupils from Clydebank High School have created displays and heart-warming messages to welcome people to their town who have been forced to flee their own homes.
The Modern Studies pupils displayed their kindness and encouragement by writing welcome messages on orange hearts, the symbol of welcome used by Together With Refugees a coalition of more than 400 organisations calling for a fairer and more humane asylum system in the UK.
Pupils created their messages after hearing the plight people in Afghanistan are facing during assemblies, and other issues and myths surrounding refugees and people seeking asylum.
Kind-hearted pupils will put the hearts inside books which could be delivered as gifts to welcome residents to West Dunbartonshire and it’s hoped the messages of support will help settle them into their new communities.
S6 pupil, Mhairi McCready said: “I wanted to treat the refugees the same way I hoped others would if I was in their place, welcoming them and helping them.”
“We understand that it can be overwhelming moving away from home and having to join a new school, so we felt that it was important that we help them feel comfortable and are able to enjoy their new experiences as pupils of Clydebank High school.”
Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services, said: “I fully support this initiative and I want to thank all the pupils involved for their kindness and compassion which is so important to families looking to settle in West Dunbartonshire. To know you have the support of the community must be very comforting for refugees and I am very proud of our pupils for showing compassion for people fleeing war, persecution or violence.”
Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Educational Services, said: “We all know it can be a very stressful time when moving to a new area but moving to a whole new country in such awful circumstances can bring fear and anxiety for families. Our pupils have shown great maturity and compassion in welcoming refugees to West Dunbartonshire and showing them they are welcome and will be fully supported to settle in their new community.”
On 14 February, Valentine’s Day, Together With Refugees is encouraging everyone to show their support by creating a message of friendship and compassion to people who have been forced to flee their homes by creating their own orange heart display. Residents can share photos of their hearts on social media @scotrefcouncil.