Limited Time Offer: Get 2 Months of for only $5!

Social Studies, 7B, Africa, Part One - Physical / Political Geography of Africa

Assignment One
Africa Part One, Physical / Political Geography of Africa

Deadline, Nov. 30, 40 points

Click here to go back to the
web site for S
ocial Studies 7B





How does the physical geography of Africa affect the people and nations that make Africa their home?

What are the various types of physical geography of Africa?




Africa is a continent of profound variety. We often think of the Sahara when we think of Africa. The Sahara is an expansive desert that spans the northern tier of African nations. Then again, we may think of the jungles of Africa and the movies we've seen that are supposed to be set there.

Yes it is home to the hottest place on earth - the Danakil Depression. At the same time Africa to is home to immense grasslands or savanas that cover thousands of miles. Great rivers cross the continent as well a series of lakes almost two thousand miles long. In short, Africa is continent of varied settings.


Students will identify and describe the national borders and dominant land forms of Africa.

Students will identify and describe the challenges and opportunities associated with living in the various regions of Africa.

Essential questions

  1. How can students recognize the political and landforms of Africa?
  2. How do those political and landform geographies of Africa affect the people who live there?

Special instructions

Do the following on a separate sheet of paper. You may work with a partner if you wish.

  1. Identify 3 problems faced by the refugee whose story you studied.
  2. Explain how the refugee dealt with the problem.
  3. Explain whether you agree or not and why.
  4. Then send a letter or email to a relief agency and recommend an idea or two for how to deal with the problems refugees face. The link for the UNHCR is in the upper right part of this page.



Is the assignment complete and the answers clear?
40 points

Is the assignment partially complete and the answers are somewhat clear?
30 points

Is the assignment generalluy incomplete and the answers are cofusing or missing?
20 points or less


Here are the refugee stories we used in class.

Ahmed’s Story, Syria
Boglarka Balogh is a Hungarian freelance journalist covering humanitarian issues and author of a book on honor killings in India. She has visited several refugee camps all over the world. Currently she is working on her new book on the plight of Syrian refugees and the responsibility of the West towards them. This venture took her to the Hal Far refugee camp in Malta in December 2013.

Ahmed survived the disaster, but he can’t find a reason for his life any more. He lost eight members of his family at sea, when on October 11, 2013 their boat sank shortly after it has left Libya and just over hundred kilometers away from the Maltese coast with hundreds of Syrian refugees on board. Three dozen people died in the tragedy.

Ahmed together with most of the survivors was taken to one of the refugee camps in Malta. It was there that I met him. The 67 years old man recalled the horrible day with a broken heart. He had organized the itinerary of his family’s flight well in advance from Syria. “Agents” helped them to reach Libya, and from there, according to the deal, Tunisian smugglers should have transported them to Malta. But they got into the hands of a gang of Somalis, Libyans and Tunisians instead. They were kept locked up in a stable on a farm until the departure, that is until the smugglers managed to collect the number of refugees they wanted. Nobody was allowed to leave the building even for a minute. Days were passing and the price of the journey settled in advance rose all the time. Those women who were unable to cover the ever increasing amount got raped by their keepers, while the men got tied up and tortured.

In the end, Ahmed and the members of his family paid USD 3,000 per person in order to get on board. As they entered the boat, however, suddenly some Libyan militiamen showed up and held guns to their heads. They demanded more money. As it turned out the militiamen had noticed, that there were more than 200 passengers on board which was more than double than the number the smugglers had agreed upon with them. The refugees emptied their pockets and put together further several thousands of dollars. But it did not help.

All of a sudden a ship emerged behind them with the militiamen on board and followed their boat for hours. They wanted to force it back to Libya. As these efforts failed, the gunmen started to shoot at the defenceless refugees and severely injured many of them. Soon the bullets punctured the boat, and it sank within minutes.

Sarjida’s Story: Fleeing by boat to Malaysia
A Rohingya woman from a camp for internally displaced persons carries a pot as she lines up to collect food at a school outside of Sittwe, on May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
A Rohingya woman from a camp for internally displaced persons carries a pot as she lines up to collect food at a school outside of Sittwe, on May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
KUALA LUMPUR – In June 2012, violence shook Maungdaw, one of three districts in Rakhine state in western Myanmar where Rohingya Muslims make up the majority of the population. Rising community tensions boiled over on June 9, and spread to Rakhine’s capital Sittwe. Rival mobs of Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists torched each other’s homes.

After another bout of violence in October, many Rohingya – whom Myanmar does not recognise as citizens despite the fact they have lived in the country for generations – fled on flimsy wooden fishing boats. They headed for Malaysia, where tens of thousands of Rohingya have found refuge.

Sarjida, a 19-year-old from Maungdaw, spoke to Thomson Reuters Foundation about her experience from her new home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a dingy three-storey house she shares with other Rohingya families.

“I’m from a village called A Le Than Chaung in south Maungdaw. My parents are farmers. I’m the fifth child and the first daughter.

“We lost our home in the June violence. We built a shelter with whatever we could find because we didn’t get much help to rebuild our house. We didn’t even have blankets when the monsoon came.

“There was a troop of Nasaka [the border administration force – made up of the police, the military and customs and immigration officers – that once controlled every aspect of Rohingya life] near our village. After the violence, there were more soldiers in the area, the restrictions [on movement and jobs] worsened and the Nasaka started taking the men away. Some returned. Some didn’t.

“Parents started worrying what they would do to the girls so my family told me to leave. I’d never even been to the next village. This was the first time I’d left home and travelled alone.

“I was scared because I’d heard the boat trips were dangerous, but if I’d stayed in Myanmar, the situation could have got worse.

“I left Myanmar in April under the cover of darkness. The journey took 25 days. I travelled to a village about six miles away to get on a small boat. There were about 50 women and girls and about 20 men. We drifted for about five days because the boat didn’t start its engine. I think it was because our boat owner didn’t get a signal from the bigger boat.

“We were very tightly jammed in and had to squat on the boat for the whole trip. I had taken two pairs of clothes, lots of water and a little food, especially sour snacks to take when I felt dizzy on the boat.

“After five days, we met up with the bigger boat and were transferred onto it. There were more than 100 people on this boat. We were given a meal and a glass of water a day.

“The food wasn’t enough. People were getting very weak because of the lack of food and water. Some were becoming ill. I was seasick myself. I got dizzy and threw up numerous times. But nobody could help because everyone was unwell.

“There were strong winds too and I was really scared when the boat started rocking from side-to-side. But nobody died.

“We spent eight days on the big boat before reaching Thailand. I don’t know where exactly. We were put in a compound near the sea. I could see the hills too.

“The traffickers separated the men from the women. We (women) were put in a tarpaulin tent. It had a roof but no sides. They placed a sheet on the ground for us to sit on. I was treated well. The traffickers spoke Burmese so I think they must have been from Myanmar.

“We spent about five days there. We weren’t told why we were there. Then we had to walk towards a mountain and sleep overnight in the open. The next morning cars transported us to Malaysia. We arrived in Penang very early in the morning after another full day and night of travelling.

“A fellow villager I’d known for a while, who left for Malaysia about four years ago, picked me up and brought me to Kuala Lumpur. He also paid the brokers 300,000 kyats (over $300) for me to get to Thailand and 5,500 ringgit (about $1,750) to reach Malaysia. We got married a week after I arrived here.

“I feel better now that I’ve arrived here but I miss my family.

“If Myanmar is peaceful then I think I’d like to go back there because my childhood was peaceful.”

By Thomson Reuters Foundation Correspondent

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Fri, 19 Jul 2013 05:15 GMT

By Refugee ActionOctober 13, 2017Refugee Voices
Naseen grew up in Kenya after her family fled the civil war in Somalia when she was just five years old. She became separated from her parents and was raised in Nairobi by her aunt, whose husband had been killed in the conflict.
At school, she enjoyed learning and English was one of her favourite classes. But she was forced to drop out aged 10 when her aunt could no longer afford to pay for her education.
Now, the 31-year-old mother of four children aged between nine and two, is putting the English she learnt at school and later taught herself to good use. The family arrived in north west England in May this year through the Gateway resettlement programme and Naseen says being able to speak some English has been invaluable.
“I don’t feel like I am struggling because I can understand people. My only issue is that I want to progress my studies. I speak Urdu and a little bit of Arabic. I have Indian friends and I say ‘hi’ to my English neighbours,” she says.
Naseen says her children help her feel less lonely. But she misses her friends from Kenya, especially during the recent Eid festival.
She hopes to make close friends in England. “People have been very good and welcomed me. My neighbours, there are some ladies who walk past my door and we greet each other. And whenever we see each other in other places we greet each other.
“My challenge is being a single mother; it is hard not having support with the children. It would be good to have someone to talk to.”
Naseen says life in Kenya was tough. She left her abusive husband and struggled to support herself and her family. She worked as much as she good, renting houses, running cooking classes at her home and trying to take IT classes when she could afford the tuition.
When she heard that she would be resettled to the UK, she says: “I was so excited; really happy. I hope to be an educated person. I would like to study and you can get a lot of opportunities in the UK.”
Naseen has not been able to attend English language classes at her local college due to a lack of childcare. Now that most of her children have started school, she hopes that will change.
“I want to progress and improve my language skills. In future, I want to help other people and work as a nurse.”
She adds: “My children are very happy here. They say ‘thank you mum, now we live without difficulty’. Especially for my eldest son, he remembers everything that happened, so he is very pleased we’re here. He says I’m not stressed anymore.” 

By Refugee ActionOctober 5, 2017Refugee Voices

At first glance, Mountaha’s life seems anything but lonely. She arrived in the UK in June 2017 with her husband and four children after fleeing Syria. Her father, sisters, brother and their families all managed to escape the conflict that is tearing apart their home country and live near-by in Birmingham.
Despite being in the UK with twenty-three other family members, Mountaha spends most of her time in silence. “When my children go to school, I do the cooking and then I wait for them to come back home,” she says. “I just sit here drinking my coffee and smoking. Sometimes, I listen to Arabic music. This is my routine.”
She says not being able to speak English has left her feeling lonely and isolated. “It’s a real challenge. I can’t communicate with people. I just don’t want to leave the house,” she says. “Sometimes, I walk in the street on my own and I end up talking to myself. I walk into a shop to buy something, but I can’t explain to people what I want. Sometimes, I just cry.”
She says she avoids seeing her neighbours out of fear they would start a conversation with her: “Everyone is friendly. But if I say hello to my neighbours and they start to talk to me, I can’t reply. So, I avoid them. I would like to build relations with people, enjoy coffee mornings or go places with friends, but I need to learn the language first.”
Mountaha says she is frustrated that she has not been able to start English language classes since arriving in the UK. Her husband, Ahmad, is deaf and cannot communicate verbally. She is still waiting for the youngest of her four children to be enrolled in a local school. “My husband and my children are completely dependent on me. I have go to the shops, I have to drop the children off at school. I have to do everything,” she says.
For Mountaha, learning English is crucial to becoming self-reliant. She says that when she lived in Syria, she enjoyed driving, tailoring, plumbing and gardening – skills she desperately wants to pursue in the UK. “Studying English is very important to me. I want to be able to rely on myself, just like when I was in Syria. But, I have to learn a thousand words in English just to get a driving license. How can I do that if I can’t even learn five words because I don’t have access to English language lessons.”
“Sometimes, I find myself using sign language in the streets and shops. Imagine, I have the ability to speak but I can’t.”
With Refugee Action’s assistance, Mountaha is looking at options to start formal English language lessons. Refugee Action is also looking to provide her with a volunteer to teach her at home. But while this will teach her conversational English, she will still need accredited ESOL classes which are vital for employment.
Mountaha she says having lessons is the only way she would be able to develop and improve her live and the lives of her children and husband. “I want to integrate, I want to drive, I want to work. These lessons will help me break some barriers.”
According to new research by Refugee Action, refugees say learning English is “everything” – being able to speak the language of their new home country combats isolation and loneliness, enabling them to volunteer, work and make friends with their neighbours.
The research found that women in particular face huge barriers to learning as 77% of providers say they are unable to provide childcare. This leaves women more isolated and vulnerable to loneliness.



Printed files


Meida files

Here is the link to the PowerPoint file we used in class.

Here is the link to the UNHCR office in Switerland.

Online files

Here is a link to the video about the smuggler's ship we watched in class.

Sound files

Not applicable.


Get 2 Months for $5!