Activity – Renata’s Story


  1. Go to the Harmony Day app page to download the Harmony Day Stories app.
  2. Print a copy of the Harmony Day poster available on the same web page.
  3. Once you have downloaded and printed the poster, place it on a nearby table or on the floor where you can move around the poster and explore Renata’s story.
  4. Select the ‘Activate Stories’ button from the app’s home page and when ready select ‘Scan’. Point the camera towards the Harmony Day poster and watch it come to life!
  5. Touch the screen tab to activate, listen and explore Renata’s story.
  6. Print this lesson plan along with the reproducible worksheets.

Renata’s story

I still carry a bag wherever I go – I have done that since I came to Australia 60 years ago. Everything that I owned was in that one bag I carried off the boat. Can you imagine that?

I had very little in my bag. My country was destroyed in the war and there was nothing left from my life there.

The main thing that I brought to Australia was hope. Just like the many refugees who still come to Australia from different parts of the world. Different languages; different times; but they all share the same dream of safety. I call it Renata’s dream: the dream that I brought on the boat all those years ago.

A kind voice and a smile – that’s really what’s important when you arrive as a refugee. I still meet lots of refugees in my work as a volunteer for the Red Cross. It’s the small things that are important; not the things you can buy in a shop.

It’s such a small bag I carry now.

Discussion questions:

  • Renata is a fictional character. Do you think the migration experience she speaks of is realistic? In what ways do you think that her migration experience is similar to people who have come to Australia as migrants and refugees in the last 20 years? In what ways might Renata’s experience have been different to more recent arrivals?
  • How has Australia’s immigration policy changed since the ‘White Australia’ policy that was introduced in 1901? Why do you think these changes have happened?
  • What are the best ways that the Australian government and local community groups can contribute to making the settlement of migrants and refugees a positive experience?
  • What do you think are the main contributions that migration has made to the Australian community? (Think about economic, social and lifestyle issues.)
  • What do you think are the main challenges that migration has posed for the Australian community? (Again, think about economic, social and lifestyle issues.)
  • Renata carried just a small bag of possessions when she disembarked from the ship carrying European refugees to Australia in the 1950s. What would you put into one small suitcase if you needed to leave Australia and move to another country?
  • Think about the memories would you take with you if you moved to live in another country. What are the sights, sounds, tastes and smells that you associate with Australia? Which aspect of Australian life do you think you would miss most?


Imagine that you are volunteering in a community organisation that provides support for migrants and refugees when a refugee arrives in a distressed state because they have been racially abused on the street. Work with another person and role play the conversation that you might have with the refugee. One person should take the role of the volunteer and the other person should take the role of the refugee. Explore the emotional impact of the abuse. Also explore words that may support the refugee and allow them to continue to feel positive about their new life in Australia. Once you have finished you may like to change roles and repeat the role play, exploring a different strategy that the volunteer could take to support the refugee and assure them that ‘Everyone Belongs’.