Students build mock refugee camp

Some Missouri students now have a better idea of what it's like to be a refugee.

On Saturday, around 150 high school students from across the state gathered at William Woods University in Fulton to construct a mock refugee camp.

The goal was to get kids to better understand the harsh living conditions faced by many young refugees around the world.

Students constructed makeshift medical tents, fake landmines, a school and even a cemetery. It's part of a two-day conference put on by a group called Peace Jam, an international non-profit that connects young students with Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Betty Williams, an Irish Nobel Peace Laureate, oversaw the students' projects.

"Most of the young people that I meet, not just in the U.S. but in the world, don't war war, they don't want violence," said Williams. "They want justice and they want peace. And most of these young people are very aware of the wrongs that are out there in the world."

Jessica Bargate, a William Woods student, originally from South Africa, helped build a wooden latrine. Bargate worked with the high school students as they hammered and drilled for much of the afternoon.

Before Bargate and other students constructed the mock camp, they watched a film on Rwanda to better understand the situation in the small east-central African country.

The mock camp will stay up for the rest of the week and is open to public tours. Money raised from those tours will go towards the Callaway to Kibungo Community Partnership, a group that's trying to build a medical clinic in Rwanda.

"The wonderful thing about Peace Jam is it's making it real for these people," said Bargate. "You know in Fulton, and even in the U.S., we're sort of isolated and we have so much here that it's hard for people to realize that there are people that are living in places like this. And this is real for them."