© 2018 Nola Ellen Education, Training and Consultancy

Past Training Events 

Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Refugee Children
Co-facilitated by Nola Ellen and Gulwali Passarlay   

2 November 2017

09:00 - 12:00





This half day course will provide an introduction to key terminology relating to international

new arrival children, the reasons why people flee their home countries and what the

journey to safety may involve. It will give a basic overview of the asylum process in the UK.

Using a range case studies, digital resources, discussions and activities, we will explore;  

  • The emotional impact of the pre, trans and post migration experience on children and young people.

  • The specific experiences and needs of refugee children in their own words.  

  • The importance of building resilience and protective factors

  • Positive strategies to support refugee children to settle, integrate and reach their potential.

  • Good practice guidance on how to create welcoming and inclusive settings.

  • Information on refugee and related support services for children and families.

We will hear from Hawa Bah, who moved to the UK as an unaccompanied minor aged 17. Hawa will recite two of her own poems which will give insights into forced child marriage, the experience of claiming asylum as a child and the importance of dignity and equality for those seeking sanctuary.  

The second part of the training session will feature a personal testimonial from Gulwali Passarlay, an influential Afghan refugee who is a published author, TEDx speaker, and active campaigner for refugee children's rights. Gulwali will share how he survived a terrifying year long journey to safety in Britain where he arrived as an unaccompanied asylum seeking child aged 13. Gulwali will talk about his experience of being age disputed, growing up in the care system, claiming asylum and transitioning into life in the UK. There will be time for participant question and answers with Gulwali. 

Who is this course aimed at?

Teachers, Social Workers, Counsellors, Foster Carers and Adoptive Parents, Learning Mentors, SENCos, Educational Psychologists, Family Workers, Therapists, Behaviour Support Workers, Early Years, School-Home Support, Care Workers, Youth Workers, Residential Staff, Key Workers, Health Professionals, Volunteers, Caseworkers, Police, Advocates, Mentors, Befrienders, Policy Makers, Journalists and any other roles working directly with children and young people and newly arrived communities.  

Nola Ellen is an independent youth educator, practitioner, trainer and consultant specialising in culturally sensitive and inclusive approaches to youth and community work. Over the past 15 years she has held various frontline positions with leading local, national and international NGOs delivering and managing services for children and families from asylum seeking, refugee and other new migrant backgrounds. Over the last year she has spent time designing and delivering educational programmes and child refugee training events in refugee camps in Northern France, Lebanon and Jordan. 


Nola offers a range of bespoke and specialist services for schools along the themes of child refugee inclusion and cultural diversity.


Nola delivers practice based refugee awareness workshops for children in schools with a strong focus on children’s voices and child participation.  


Nola is a proud ambassador of Schools of Sanctuary and can advise schools on this award. She is also the founder of Hearts and Hopes, a youth lead social action project which builds friendships between British school children and refugee children living in the UK and in camps overseas. 


You can read testimonials about Nola's work here

About the speakers 

Gulwali Passarlay is an Afghan political refugee currently residing in the UK. He left Afghanistan in 2006 aged 12 and arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum seeking child aged 13 years old. Gulwali has recently graduated with a degree in Politics from the University of Manchester. 

A Global Youth Ambassador for global children's charity Theirworld, Gulwali has taken a long history of campaigning and leadership roles, including being the President of the United Afghan Peace Movement, Chairperson of the Afghan Youth Movement, Patron of the Separated Child Foundation, Commissioner of The Children's Society, and Ambassador of various organisations, including being the Olympics Torch-bearer, and NHS Youth Forum. An award-winning activist, Gulwali has garnered the Distinguished Achievement Award (Student of the Year), Collaborative Leadership Award, and among others, the Manchester Leadership Gold Award, in recognition of his leadership and positive contribution. 

He has told his story of life as a refugee in his autobiography: "The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee's Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half The World" on TV channels such as BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, Channel 4 News, ITV, Russia Today, in print media such as The Guardian, Time Magazine, The Independent, The Scotsman, and at events such as TEDx.

As a fervent advocate for many social justice issues and causes, Gulwali was nominated for the 2016 Nansen Refugee Award by the UNHCR. Today, he continues advocate for education, social justice, and to make a positive impact in the community, locally and abroad. More information can be found at: www.gulwalipassarlay.wordpress.com 

Hawa Bah moved to the UK in 2007 as an unaccompanied child.seeking asylum.  

Hawa works as a Mental Health Support Worker with the NHS and as an administration assistant with Solace, a specialist Leeds based refugee organisation. 

Hawa is also the founder of a catering company 'Mahenkamen' which translates as 'Let's Go Home' in her native language, Fullah.

Hawa will be reciting two pieces of poetry that she has written based on personal life events. The poems cover forced child marriage, navigating the asylum process as a child and the importance of dignity and equality for those seeking sanctuary.     

"Nola thank you for caring, you come across as professional and  compassionate. The blend of the session was excellent. After  today I will speak up more, I will educate colleagues and I will  make a  success of the programme I am involved in setting up for young  refugees and asylum seekers." 

  -  CATCH  

A personal testimonial -
Working with Child Refugees Training
100% of course participants said they would recommend this course to colleagues.
91% of course participants rated the content as excellent.
91% of course participants rated the delivery as excellent.
For additional feedback please see comments in the gallery below.