I HAD a meeting a few weeks ago with those nice people from the British Refugee Council (Farida Stanikzai) and Refugee Week (Gerdy Rees). They told me about their plans for Refugee Week, in which a number of events are held to celebrate the things that refugees bring to this country, when they no longer can live in their own.
We chatted about what they were up to and SOTM and decided to combine our efforts. So Farida took six SOTMs of refugees currently in the UK, and gathered up some of their stories – you’ll see them start appearing on the site from 14 June.
The organisers of Refugee Week said: “The purpose of Refugee Week is to deliver positive educational messages that counter fear, ignorance and negative stereotypes of refugees, through arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and promote understanding about the reasons why people seek sanctuary.
“Refugee Week was first held in 1998, and was created in response to the increasingly negative perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers held by the general public in Britain. It remains the only UK-wide event that promotes the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.
“Refugee Week is a multi-agency project, managed by the Refugee Week Team which consists of the UK Coordinator for Refugee Week, Welsh and Scottish Co-ordinators and a small number of volunteers with specific skills. Different regions, areas and towns have their own Refugee Week Steering and Operational Groups which manage and co-ordinate Refugee Week activities in their areas.”
So there you go – check out what someone once told refugees from Iraq, Pakistan and Sudan among other places.