Leaving Home: Carly

3, 4, 5
Keywords & Concepts: 

Students will view a video about a girl named Carly who is a refugee forced to leave her home. Students will discuss the problems Carly faces in her journey to find a safe place to live. During this activity students will draw inferences as to why Carly had to flee from her home. The students will learn the definition of a refugee and the reasons refugees must leave their homes. They will also view a segment of a video which introduces them to a refugee’s story of why he or she left his or her country.

PrintOne 45 Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define refugee.
  • describe and formulate connections with a refugee’s feelings of loneliness, isolation and rejection.
  • summarize what it means to be a refugee.
  • explain the reasons why refugees are forced to flee.
  • UNHCR Video ― “Carly” (See Bibliographical References at end of lesson) [no longer available] 
  • Why Carly Left Home Handout One for each student
  • A New Haven: The Story of a Refugee in the Elm City video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nheVelgx09A 
  • refugee: someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group; a refugee either cannot return home or is afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.
  • persecution: to oppress, harass, bully, or maltreat, especially because of race or religion or ethnicity
  • war: a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism; a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end
  • violence: intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the students to think about this question: If you were told you had to leave your home immediately and were given only 5 minutes to gather your most valued possessions, what 3 possessions would you take? Allow a few minutes for students to think, then ask them to pair with another student and tell what3 possesions they would take and why they chose those3 things. As a followup, have them reflect on how they would feel if they had to leave everything behind.

  2. Inform students they will be watching a video about a girl named Carly who is forced to flee her home and leave everything behind. All alone, she sets out to find help in other lands. Ask students to think about the following questions while viewing the video:

  3. o How do you think Carly feels at the beginning of the video? How does she feel at the end? o What types of problems does Carly face in her journey? o Carly meets people and animals as she goes from land to land. Why doesn’t Carly stay with the people or the animals she meets? o Why does she decide to stay with Mr. Friendly and his family?

  4. Students watch "Carly."

  5. Discuss the answers to the above questions with students.

  6. Explain to students that Carly is a refugee. Define refugee for the students.

  7. Ask students, Why did Carly leave her home? (Answer: It was on fire.) Follow up and ask, Why do you think her house burned?

  8. Explain to students that refugees leave their homes and their countries because of persecution, war or violence. Define each and give an example of each.

  9. Give students a copy of the handout "Why Carly Left Home." Have students complete the handout.

  10. Ask students to share their responses and, as a group, categorize whether the response falls under persecution, war or violence.

  11. Watch a short YouTube video of a refugee sharing his story. Watch from the 58 second mark to the 2 minute 20 second mark as this is the portion of the video where reasons why he became a refugee are discussed. See Materials, above.

  12. Wrap up the lesson by reviewing the definition of a refugee and the reasons refugees flee their homes. Remind students that there are three main reasons why refugees are forced to flee their homes: persecution, war and/or violence. Recall some of the reasons why students thought Carly had to leave her home and some of the reasons why the refugee in the video left his home.


Assess student performance on working independently and working cooperatively with others. Assess student participation during discussions. Assess student responses on the Why Carly Left Home handout. Did their responses display an example of persecution, war or violence?