A school project has spurred a class of primary pupils into action, raising nearly $2000 to put towards supplies for refugees.

Year 7 and 8 pupils at Roxburgh Area School have been learning about a class unit focused on the book Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Teacher Sarah Moore said the unit had been centred on the book, but drew comparisons to present refugee issues.

‘‘Our goal for this unit is for students to understand why people are forced to become refugees, and to see the real people behind the headlines and images,’’she said.

The pupils had met the curriculum requirements of ‘‘know’’ and ‘‘understand’’ but they needed a practical component to show they could ‘‘do’’, she said.

The class contacted the Red Cross in Dunedin, which ran a refugee resettlement programme, to see how they could assist.

Ms Moore said the centre was helpful and excited to work with the pupils, suggesting warm duvets and pillows would be useful.

Roxburgh Area School pupils at their bake sale to raise funds for refugees, (back from left left) Willa Moore (12),Talya Ballschmiede (13), Ruby Wells (12), Charlotte McNeish (13), Vanessa Weatherall (11), (front from left) Bridget Gunn (13,), Poppy Smith (12), Bella Hill (12), Kyah Patrick (12), Ryley Buchan (12), Sam McNeish (12), Tommy Stevens (13), Todd Abercrombie (12), Jeremy Davis (12).

‘‘The students immediately got behind this idea, and have put in loads of hard work, from designing and selling tea towels to collecting walnuts and organising a bake sale.’’

It had been a powerful experience for the pupils, Ms Moore said.

While they initially hoped to raise $500, they have now raised over $1800.

Pupil Kellan McDowell (13) said the project helped his understanding of current events.

‘‘Now watching the news about Syria, I understand for myself what is happening,’’ Kellan said.