An activity pack for schools and youth workers

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These are tried and trusted workshops and role-plays which are used by a wide variety of trainers and teachers. They aim to provide a means for participants to explore their own identities as well as those of others and to try and empathise with minority ethnic groups, including Irish Travellers and refugees and asylum seekers.

In section 4 of this activity pack there are a number of resource materials, including a glossary of terms and useful websites. These can be used as handouts or to provide further background for the facilitator.

There are five detailed workshops and role plays provided in this activity pack, including:

We are all different - we are all equal

Objective - to help young people recognise and appreciate some ways in which they themselves are different from other people in their group, and to appreciate how others are different from them.

Age group - all

Materials - Each person taking part will need a potato and a recent photograph of themselves that they are proud of. The leader will need to provide sticky labels to write on.

Minimum time needed - 30 minutes

Part One -

Ask everyone to look closely at their potato, to become aware of all its lumps and bumps, its shape and its size.

Now put all the potatoes in a large bag mix them up and pour out onto the floor. Ask everyone to try and identify his or her own potato.

Discussion can follow the game on how each potato, even through very different in it own way, still remained a potato inside.

Part Two

Ask each participant to think about themselves. In what way are they proud to be different from everyone else in the group.

Encourage them to think about:

  1. Physical appearance, skills, talent, personality
  2. Ways in which their likes and dislikes differ from everyone else in the group

Invite them to write down two statements relating to (a) and (b) on a sticky badge.

Their statements can be read out and directly placed with their photograph on a display.


The participants can swap badges, mix them all up and then try to match the statements to the photograph on the wall (there may be clues in the photographs).

Part Three

Assign one smaller group to the task of using the badges to list all of the abilities, talents, attributes, experiences and skills that are present in the group.

The whole group then works on a giant poster or display to celebrate how differences enrich the whole group.


The Umbrella Game

Objective - To develop ownership of one's own identity, and appreciation of difference within the group. To explore how subgroups develop in society.

Materials - Several umbrellas. If the use of real umbrellas is impractical, draw them on poster sheets. Post-its (large). Marker pens.

Age - 7+

Minimum time needed - 30 mins.



Discussion - learning to focus on experience:

The Refugee Experience

Objectives -

Materials -

Age - 15+

Time - 30-60 minutes


The story line

One day, a group of extremists called 'The Extremist Party' conclude that they are not satisfied with the way the country is being run, so they decide to take over the country. They eventually succeed and become the leaders of the country. In order to prevent future opposition, The Extremist party begins to arrest and persecute members of the former leading political party 'The Welcome Party'

Ask the participants to imagine that they are all well-known active members of the leading political party 'The Welcome Party'.


Notes for the facilitator

Media Watch

Objectives -


The media has an important role to play in relation to racism. It can play a major part in highlighting racism as a problem in our society and report on how government and non-government organisations are seeking to tackle racism and promote a more inclusive society.

However the standard of reporting has sometimes been very inconsistent in relation to the issues of racism and cultural diversity in our society, a fact recognised by those involved in working in the media industry such as the National Union of Journalists which has been active in promoting good practice.

Look at the way media portrays one or all of the following:

Materials - Ask participants to collect newspaper coverage about groups such as Travellers or refugees and asylum seekers from a range of different papers over a period of time. Note: Some public libraries keep press cuttings, sometimes referenced for easy access. For background information related see Racial Equality bulletin No. 2 - Press reporting on minority ethnic issues and racism in Northern Ireland published by the Equality Commission and in regard to the South, see contributions related to the media in Toward the World Conference on Racism Report on http://homepage.eircom.net~racismcteeand the publications indicated in the resource section (4) of this pack.

Age group - 15+

Time - 30 - 45 minutes

Method -


Objectives -

To provide participants with the opportunity to research and assess attitudes to Travellers in the community. To develop skills around survey techniques.

Age -

15 and upward

Preparation -

Who should be interviewed?

Decide on a specific target, eg fellow students; friends
Give some thought to how many people you want to interview

How do you want to ask questions?

Look at the pros and cons of using a questionnaire. Questionnaires are quick and relatively easily administered but the answers may not give the full picture. Other methods of asking questions are through structured interviews. This method requires significantly more skills and it is more difficult to analyse the results.

What do you intend to do with the information?

Participants should be prepared to put in some time into a piece of work like this, including background reading. The information derived from the completed questionnaires should be presented. A short report and description of the findings should be prepared, with a number of conclusions and recommendations. These should be informed by a discussion involving the teacher/youth worker and the participants. The results could be drawn together as part of a class newsletter.

Practical points

Sample Questionnaire

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements



  1. Everyone should have the right to a decent standard of accommodation.
  2. Travellers should have a right to a permanent, serviced halting site in a convenient location.
  3. Everyone has the right to have some choice about where they should live.
  4. It would be better for all Travellers to live in houses and not on halting sites.
  5. Travellers are welcome in my community.
  6. Travellers experience discrimination.
  7. We have a lot to learn from Travellers.

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This activity pack has been produced by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI) in the Republic of Ireland in partnership with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.