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Activities for Community Groups: Black and Asian Involvement
These activities are designed to be introduced by youth workers and other leaders of children's and young people's groups. They can be used as part of learning activities, drama presentations and community work.
These activities draw on story extracts from the Archive. Story extract titles appear in bold in the activities below, eg A Child Remembers the Outbreak of War. These extracts can be found on the Story Extracts page.
Write the word 'common' on a board or large sheet of paper. Ask a few young people in the group to say what they think it means.
Now ask the young people to sit in silence and to write a sentence definition of the word 'common'. Once they have completed the sentence, ask them to exchange definitions with a partner. They should then discuss their ideas and create a definition that includes both their ideas.
Ask each pair to join with another pair to form a group of four. They should then exchange definitions, discuss their ideas and create a final definition.
Ask each group to feed back their ideas to the rest of the group and reach a group definition.
Repeat these activities for the word 'wealth'. Then ask each group to put the two words together and reach a definition. Ask each group to feed back their ideas to the whole group.
Discuss as a group the themes of working together and sharing heritage. Introduce the historical background of the Commonwealth, and ask what common heritage the countries that belong to it have shared. Link to ideas of the British Empire.
About the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth began with the independence of India in 1947. It included countries that had previously been part of the British Empire. Many of these countries had sent troops to fight in Europe during World War Two. There are now 54 member countries of the Commonwealth, spread through Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Mediterranean, North America and the Pacific. Its 1.7 billion people comprise over a quarter of the world's population. Over half are young people aged 25 or under. The core beliefs upon which the Commonwealth was founded are those of equality, justice and democracy for all people. The second Monday in March every year is Commonwealth Day.
For further background information about the Commonwealth, you could also visit The Royal Commonwealth Society.
The Commonwealth in World War TwoActivity 2
Split the young people into groups of four (or more or less, depending on size of the group). Ask them to imagine it is 1940, and they have to prepare a brief radio report that would explain the importance of Commonwealth troops to the war effort, and to acknowledge and boost the morale of these troops. Ask them to use examples from Making a difference - Experiences of a Black British Serviceman and Ramisaminaidu, a Runner in the 11th Indian LAA in Burma. You can find these in the accompanying Story Extracts file.
Remind them that their reports need to use uplifting and emotive language. Present their reports to the whole group.
Discrimination in the forces
Now split the young people into groups of about four (depending upon size of the group). Ask them to imagine they are a group of black and Asian soldiers who want to help other black and Asian soldiers in World War Two deal with discrimination. They will find information to help them form their ideas from the extracts in the accompanying Story Extracts file.
Ask the groups to prepare a leaflet (on a PC, or using paper, pens and scissors) that gives practical advice about dealing with discrimination in World War Two. Once the task is completed, ask each group to read the leaflets and discuss how this information could be applied to today's society.
Finally, ask each young person to write a speech which explains how these stories illustrate the importance of learning about multi-cultural history. They can use the extracts in the accompanying Story Extracts file, or find the full stories or research other stories in the World categories.
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