Rainbow help for refugees
James Minota Bermudez, 12, used to get into fights when other kids called him names. Now he walks away.
James, from Colombia, was one of nine year 7 and 8 students at Bishop Viard College who has completed a five- week programme for students who are former refugees.
The Rainbow programme, run by Refugee Trauma Recovery, works through some of the challenges of settling into a new country.
It aims to build their confidence, often using activities like crafts and drawing to talk about feelings.
James, or Junior, said it was ‘‘really cool’’ because he made friends and learned not to be shy, but also learned not to react with violence when kids made racist remarks.
His mum, Diana Bermudez, said the programme had been great for her son.
‘‘He’s more quiet now – he was very full-on, very active. It’s good for him to be quieter,’’ she said.
Yuri Sogamoso, 13, also from Colombia, said she liked everything about it.
‘‘I love to share this experience with all my friends, with other children.’’
Teacher Lois Burns said the school would now be looking at different ways it could support its students who have refugee backgrounds.
Keen learners: The graduates of Bishop Viard’s Rainbow programme, which supports former refugees at the school to build their confidence. From left, back row: Jhon Cubides Ordonez, Ma Ma Anas, Seng Hpraw La Hpai, Yuri Fajardo Sogamoso, and Skiya La. Front, Daniel Cortez Guerrero, Neider Ceballes Rodrigues, Ja Hta Pan N-Hkum and Junior Minota Bermudez.