MY STORY - In this introductory lesson, you will meet Jamalida aged 9 and Desmond aged 12, Both children have grown up in Ireland. Jamalida's family fled Burma (Myanmar) and lived for many years in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. They moved to Ireland when Jamalida was one, as part of UNHCR's resettlement programme for refugees.  Desmond's mother comes from Côte d'Ivoire, she was pregnant with Desmond when she arrived in Ireland. Learn more about where they come from and what it feels like to be part of two cultures.

Prior Learning
Knowledge and understanding of:
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child
Identity - the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
Culture - the learned ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.
Trait -something about you that makes you "you."


  • Learner Journal - Circles of Me diagram

  • Pictures of Desmond and Jamalida

  • #Uprooted videos: Desmond and Jamalida

  • Index cards and pens





  1. Explore the concept of identity

  2. Develop an appreciation of and talk about personal strengths, abilities and characteristics

  3. Recognise and appreciate the differences and similarities between people

  4. Identify and talk about personal preferences  

3rd/4th Class   SPHE - Myself - Self-identity - Self-awareness

  • Recognise, describe and discuss individual personality traits, strength, limitations, interests and abilities

  • Explore the factors that influence his/her self-image

  • Realise that each person has a unique contribution to make to various groups, situations and friendships.

5th/6th Class   SPHE - Myself - Self-identity - Self-awareness

  • Recognise and appreciate that each person is a unique individual and that this individuality is expressed in many different ways

  • Accept his/her own image and explore some of the factors that affect his/her self-image and beliefs about himself/herself.


* Explain to the children that people are often judged only on the outer circle – religion, appearance, race, nationality, hair colour, eye colour. This does not reflect who we really are. Our ‘outer circle’ is just a wrapper around our true identity.




Ask students to write their own, "My Story". Prompts include:
  1. Describe the journey of your life.
  2. Where do you or your family come from?
  3. What about your culture makes you proud?
  4. Do you feel you are treated differently? 
  5. What do you want to be when you are older? 
  6. Do you feel Irish? 
  7. Who supports you?
  8. What is the funniest thing anyone has ever said to you? 
  9. What does your future hold?


Introduce Desmond and Jamalida to the class through their short videos.  Distribute index cards and ask the children to write down three words that describe Jamalida and Desmond. On the flip side of the card ask the class to record their name and three words to describe themselves as a way of ‘introducing’ themselves to Desmond and Jamalida. 

Divide the class in to smaller groups. Ask the groups to discuss what they have in common with Desmond and Jamalida who describe themselves as happy, friendly, honest (Desmond); and nervous, flexible, good at whistling very loud, good at making friends (Jamalida). Then ask them to discuss what their differences are. 


Learners Journal: 'Circles of Me' Explain how to complete the diagram reflecting thier own identity: 

Circles of Me

Inner circle: record three adjectives that describe themselves (possibly the same as on the index card). This is our core identity.

Middle circle: record things about themselves that they have chosen, e.g. friends, hobbies, interests. This is the part of our identity that we choose for ourselves.  

Outer circle: record their hair colour, eye colour, physical features; also their birthplace, nationality, culture, religion, and race. This is the part of our identity that is given to us we do not choose these traits.

NOTE: For younger children, the focus can be kept on physical traits or introduce you might choose to introduce new concepts according to age and ability. 

 If they are comfortable, children share their ‘Circles of Me’.


Discussion Points:

  1. How does being similar with another person make you feel?

  2. What does it feel like to be different from the group?

  3. Do you think people make judgments about who you are based on your outside or given traits?




Share with the children the poster on Convention of the Rights of the Child. Ask them to determine which rights are significant to the topic they have been discussing. 

Article 8 (Preservation of identity): You have the right to an identity – an official record of who you are. Governments should respect your right to a name, a nationality and family ties.

Article 14 (Religion): You have the right to choose your own religion and beliefs. your parents should help you decide what is right and wrong, and what is best for you. 

Article 22 (Refugee children): You have the right to special protection and help if you are refugees (if you have been forced to leave your home and live in another country), as well as all the rights in the Convention.

Article 29 (Goals of education): Your education should help you use and develop your talents and abilities to the fullest. It should also help you to respect others, human rights and you own and other cultures. It should also help you learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people. 

Article 30 (Children of minorities/indigenous groups): Minority or indigenous children have the right to learn about and practice their own culture, language and religion. The right to practice one’s own culture, language and religion applies to everyone; the Convention here highlights this right in instances where the practices are not shared by the majority of people in the country.


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