Pupils at Our Lady’s Saint Teresa Catholic Primary School have joined the Let’s be Friends project, which was created by a Coventry University graduate.
The project aims to tackle stereotypes and promote understanding by asking pupils to guess nationalities of children based on photographs, and by sharing their stories and building friendships across borders.
Seventy pupils from the Cubbington primary school and the Royal School in Windsor are some of the 150 pupils who joined the scheme.
The pupils from both schools painted t-shirts with handprints and messages of friendship for Iraqi children living in refugee camps.
The scheme was launched by Zinah Mohammed, who is an Iraqi national. She has worked with Our Lady’s Saint Teresa Catholic Primary School to share her own story of leaving everything she knew to find safety.
Zinah will send T-shirts to 70 children living in camps who will then return a handmade shirt to England. She also hopes to share pictures and video calls between the children.
The scheme is part of Zinah’s work with the Prince’s Trust International Leadership programme with which she is one of 54 international delegates chosen for their potential to make positive changes in their communities.
The 26-year-old, who grew up in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein’s rule amid terror and kidnapping threats, said: “This is not just about children sharing a T-shirt to begin a friendship; it is also about the stereotypes around about Iraqi people like me.
“The response here has been amazing, young people were so keen to learn about what others their age are going through and wanted to write their names in Arabic for the Iraqi children to understand.
“If we can educate people on the power of friendship, dialogue and tolerance then I believe we can make real differences.”
The scheme will now be rolled out to pupils in Coventry.