Exploration 5A: Extension Activities

An Inventory of Your Own Essential Needs

Make a list of supports that you identify as essential to your life.
  • What do you need in order to live in reasonable comfort?

Circle the ones you believe are absolutely essential for living a normal life.

Put a check next to the ones that help you feel your own human dignity.

  • How would these needs be affected by war?
Compare and discuss your list with other people’s lists.

The Experience of Fleeing

More than other events that cause people to leave their homes (loss of shelter, possessions, water, electricity, work, education, etc.), the loss of security obliges people to make quick decisions as they flee. Imminent danger leaves little time to decide. When people leave, it is uncertain how long they will be away or even whether they will ever return. This exercise is designed to help you appreciate the impact of evacuation on victims’ lives.

In a small group, imagine the following situation:

You are a family or group of neighbours.
Your home area is under devastating attack.
You must leave now in order to save your lives.
You do not know where you will be going and whether you will be able to return.
You have only 10 minutes.

1. Individually, write down what you want to take.
2. Then, as a group, decide what you can actually take, why take it and how to carry it.
3. Write down the group’s plans.

Compare Your Group’s Plan with the Plans of Other Groups

  • What did your group take and why?
  • What thoughts or feelings did you have as you made these decisions?
  • What difference would it make if your group included elderly people? Infants or toddlers?
  • How would the chaos of armed conflict affect your decisions?
  • [In one class a learner said that he would go to a bank and take his money out. The teacher asked "Who would be working in the bank?"]

Refugees and Displaced Persons – Past and Present

Discuss with others what they may know about refugees and people who were displaced by armed conflict through history.

For example, Moses, French Huguenots, early inhabitants of a land, James II of Scotland and his followers, Karl Marx, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Hindus and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent in the 1940s, Ayatolla Khomeni, the Dalai Lama.

Do research and write a report on a person or group of your choice.

  • Why did they have to flee?
  • What similarities and what differences are there to the experience of Saba or the Bosnian cousins?
  • How were they able to re-establish their lives? What were they able to achieve afterwards?


Find out if there are refugees or displaced persons in your community. Interview someone who was forced by circumstances to leave his or her home and move some distance from it.
  • Who traveled with him/her?
  • What did he/she leave behind that he/she misses most?
  • What losses did he/she suffer during the journey?
  • How has his/her life changed?