Reality Refugees

In April, Saskatchewan's Rosthern Junior College sponsored "In Exile...For A While," a new youth immersion program launched by the Mennonite Central Committee to provide youth with a challenging, faith-deepening, and life-changing experience by living a day in a refugee camp simulation. The 61 participants were told a story detailing horrifying events from "surrounding communities" and alerted to the presence of a "refugee camp" just over the "border." At the end of the story, the youth were warned that they were about to become refugees. The students had to withstand a mock rebel attack, land mines, an interrogation by border guards, and life in the tight quarters of a refugee camp. "When I thought of refugee camps [before the simulation], I thought of a safe, happy place away from violence," said Kara Wolfe. At the end of the day, the students gathered to hear stories from real refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Rwanda. "Now I would really like to help refugees in whatever way I can," said Annabel Garibay.

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 2003
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