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Backpacks for refugee children – how to get involved

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Refugee families are arriving weekly into South Australia. They come with very little apart from optimism, excitement and an intense desire to successfully participate in life, work and learning in their new, home country.

Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC) staff has the responsibility for and pleasure of receiving and settling new families to South Australia. To help us achieve this, AMRC invites your school's students, staff and families to prepare and donate especially filled welcome backpacks for refugee children.

The first welcome backpacks were designed and trialled by thoughtful year 5/6 students at Blackwood Primary during an inquiry learning project in early 2016.

Welcome backpacks from your school would be so appreciated and valued. They would provide enjoyable and useful things like pencils, a comb, a book, a water bottle and a toy to use while children wait to start school. Most of all the packs will show children who fled their home countries that other children care about them and want them to be happy in Australia.

The backpacks

Almost any backpacks are suitable though you might choose to use your school backpacks with your printed logo as a message from the school to the children.

A sample contents list is listed below. We hope that many items can be easily sourced from your school's existing stationery supplies.

Include a simple welcome message and an opportunity for recipients to respond.

Sample backpack contents

Girl 7 to 9 years old:

  • medium sized backpack
  • 1 to 2 books beginning reading age
  • pencil case including:
    • set of colour pencils
    • lead pencil o set of textas
    • sharpener
    • eraser
    • scissors
    • glue stick
  • blank pad paper
  • picture dictionary
  • bracelet making materials or hair brush
  • skipping rope
  • lunch box
  • water bottle
  • stamped, school addressed envelope
  • note/photo/picture from the class/child/ school.

Get involved

Please complete the registration of interest form if your school wishes to be involved

AMRC will then:

  • contact you to negotiate a suitable term for your participation
  • provide your school with a comprehensive children's welcome backpack information package to use with classes and parents/caregivers
  • contact your school four weeks before the backpacks are needed
  • if necessary, organise volunteers to collect the completed backpacks
  • give and explain backpacks to new children when Case Managers meet them.

Backpacks for refugee children

Michelle Dieu, Australian Migrant Resource Centre

Phone:8217 9505
Email: michelle [at] amrc.org.au