Over two days, speakers including young refugees themselves led discussions on refugee integration, solidarity and history in the UK and Europe. The sessions ended with a practical session translating conversation and compassion into a list of possible measures of how to welcome refugees into our communities, schools and universities.
Local MP Kate Hoey added her voice to the discussion, taking questions from the audience about the UK’s response to the refugee crisis and talking about Wonder’s “Women Breaking the English Barrier” report. “Once someone has been designated a refugee, then the local authorities and government should be giving as much support as possible" she said. "For me, the most crucial thing for any refugees coming into the country is that they are supported to be able to learn and speak English in as good a way as possible. Particularly as a woman, if you’re not able to speak the language you can be incredibly marginalized and very lonely."
One young participant reflected on the “I learned about how people become a refugee, and thought a lot about the best ways to volunteer and other ways of helping refugees. I also really enjoyed hearing from refugees directly, who all had very different experiences.”
The workshop’s discussions and suggestions will not stop here, as this Friday 28th October young people will present their ideas to a round table of educators, policymakers and youth workers, to help make them a reality. Find out more about this follow-up event here: http://wonderfoundation.org.uk/28Oct
Our thanks go to all who attended and in particular to our wonderful speakers and the organisations they represented, including: the Migration Museum, Xenia Women, Refugee Trauma Initiative, Syria Solidarity, War Child UK, Refugee Action, iGro Global, Sursum Slovenia, C.A.R.E. Sweden, LSE Volunteering, UCL Volunteering and of course our generous hosts, the Baytree Centre.
The “A Refugee Like Me” workshop was funded by the EU Erasmus Plus programme, and is part of a broader project that you can read about here.
To donate to the Baytree Centre, which educates vulnerable refugee and migrant women, you can do so here.
Read the WONDER report “Women Breaking the English Barrier” here.