Date Posted... Jun 28th 2023

Two International Conversations on Compassion

Thinking globally and with compassion was on the agenda for our 3rd Year pupils with two inspiring international talks.

Firstly our 3rd Year Geography pupils enjoyed meeting Old Truronian Dr Harry Fonseca Williams (Co 10), who is in Kenya working with an elephant conservation charity. His talk extended the 3rd Years’ understanding of savanna grassland ecosystems and their study of the tourism industry, especially trophy hunting, poaching and conservation.

The pupils enjoyed learning first-hand about the topic and asked many questions, including about Covid’s impact on conservation work in Kenya. A big thank you to Dr Fonseca Williams for taking the time to share his experiences with our pupils. One 3rd Year pupil said it was very inspiring hearing from Harry, who sat in this very classroom not too long ago, and now his work is making a real difference with his conservation work in Kenya.

In the afternoon Mrs Richard’s 3H and 3M class had the privilege of hearing the courageous story of a refugee, displaced from Baghdad during the conflict in Iraq and now living in France.

It dispelled so many of the students’ misconceptions about what it means to be a refugee. Students asked some compassionate questions such as ‘How has the trauma experienced affected you today?’ and ‘How do others treat you knowing that you’re a refugee.’

It also challenged some pupils preconceived ideas of what being a refugee is like. They were equally shocked to learn she must retake many of her qualifications now that she’s in France because existing qualifications aren’t recognised.  We are so grateful to Fanar for sharing her story as part of the Refugee Voices project by Natakallam. Afterwards, pupils were later asked to reflect on Fanar’s personal narrative of displacement. One pupil wrote

“I was really surprised by the amount of danger that refugees must go through to be able just to have a safe place to live, especially in countries that are in conflict. Finding a country that will allow you to stay is sometimes extremely hard. The Refugee speaker in today’s lesson went through so much just to be happy and safe in another country.”

A huge thank you to all speakers and organisers of these events, which help us to look and think globally with compassion.