Kids can be so innocent, and so honest. They have an in-built sense of empathy that, as we get older, gets taken over by cynicism and doubt. We forget that sometimes just being kind is the best policy, and to treat others as we would like to be treated.
In this vein, Kids Talk Refugees, a project that brings together kids from socially and culturally diverse backgrounds, asked children about their own thoughts on asylum seekers.
Producer of the project, Heidi Pett, told BuzzFeed News that a main of the project was to reach people who aren’t informed about the news and not interested.
“We wanted to break out of the silos of Australian media and politics… There are people who will watch a couple short videos with kids learning and talking about asylum seekers who won’t read long form analysis or investigative reporting, and we really wanted to reach those people”, she said.
In the video below, kids are asked why asylum seekers should come to Australia, what an “asylum seeker” actually is, what they thought detention centres were like and what boat people were.
“It’s all well and good to talk to cute Aussie kids in an abstract way about whether this is good or bad,” says Pett. “But this is happening to kids their own age who are just as cute and deserving of rights, and I think we forget that sometimes”.
“Quite a few of the kids hadn’t heard of asylum seekers, but had heard of boat people which really says something I think… What really came home to us while making these videos was that kids really shouldn’t have to know anything about our immigration policies, least of all have an intimate knowledge of the inside of our detention centres…”, Miss Pett said.
“There are a couple of scenes where the kids say that people shouldn’t be allowed to come if they were ‘being a punk’ in the wars or whatever, and a few who thought we should screen people for diseases and to make sure they wouldn’t do anything bad, but on the whole there was an overwhelming empathy”.
Take a look below and tell us, do these children have it right? Have they changed your mind about asylum seekers?