Herefordshire Council is currently seeking volunteer interpreters to work with Syrian refugees when they arrive in the county later this year. Training for volunteers has been arranged for two days in October.
(If you are already qualified as an interpreter with a relevant language pair, then we would also be pleased to hear from you, as we will need professional interpreters as well).
A workshop will be held on Saturday 8 October to cover issues which interpreters should take into account when working with refugees and asylum seekers. Although very focused on the role of the interpreter, some service providers might also find it useful.
Please feel free to share this information with any of your contacts.
This is a personal perspective of yesterday’s Eid celebration that we have received. It was a great day. Thank you to those who could attend. Please take a moment to read these touching words.
“Today I had the honour of attending an Eid celebration that had been organised in honour of our newly arrived Syrian refugee families. It was the first time I’d ever attended any sort of religious gathering outside of my school days, and the first time I would be able to meet the families themselves. I was more than a little apprehensive and nervous, would I be accepted into this group, would my intentions be seen for what they were, would I have any purpose there?
“As the room filled with people I realised I wasn’t the only person who wasn’t quite sure of how to portray our honest feelings of warmth and best wishes to the guests of honour. We all chattered and smiled disarmingly when an opportunity presented itself, hoping we’d have a chance to show our solidarity. The chatter became an excited buzz as yet more people arrived and the tables were laden with food. Delicious dishes had been lovingly prepared for the day, where families come together and celebrate one of the most special days in their religious calendar. Our refugee families had each other, but were mourning the loss of those they couldn’t have with them.
“Prayers were sung, and the families were assured that they would be part of our family now, we couldn’t replace those that they had lost or left behind, but the local mosque would be there and provide for them if they needed. The Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees organisation have also been working closely with the families to aid and support them in their new lives, and I could feel the warmth in the room, the humanity. Everywhere you looked there were people who cared, and passionately.
“Before the feast began, members from the families told their story, of why they were here and how happy they were to be in our little town of Redditch. One of the women spoke with a passion that made me cry before I even heard the words translated . She had lost one son and she was desperate not to lose the other. As a woman, as a mother, I could not begin to comprehend the pain she has endured, the hardship she has overcome to be in that room with us today, sharing their holy day.
“In my own awkwardness I didn’t know how to tell these people that I too welcomed them, that I respect the journey they have been on and most of all that I wish for peace. I wanted to wave that fairy wand to take away all of the horrors and heal their pain, and that was when I saw a different kind of magic working in the room. The innocence of youth, the thing that gives us all hope.
“My two year old son broke the ice, charging around the room like a wild child I could see people smiling at him. As he dashed around chasing his ‘best friend’ because he doesn’t see colour or race, he sees fun and friends he was breaking down barriers.. He wanted to meet the babies and ask what their names were, holding me by the hand and dragging me across the room. I was so proud of him in that moment, and so grateful for sharing a moment with those families. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.
“Whilst there’s a part of me that screams in anger and frustration at the pain and conflict this world has and continues to endure, there’s a bigger part of me that beams in hope and pride. The innocence of youth is my hope for the future, perhaps the experiences will help the younger generations step away from war and hatred. My son keeps me believing in that dream.
“So welcome to Redditch my new friends. I look forward to strolls in the park, the sharing of stories, the creation of dreams and knowing that there is always hope.”
Report transcripts submitted to the Redditch Community Forum and the Bromsgrove Equalities and Engagement Forum.
WE ARE COLLECTING ESSENTIAL ITEMS AND MONEY TO MAKE UP THE DIGNITY PACKS FOR CHILDREN, MEN AND WOMEN STRANDED IN THE REFUGEE CAMPS ACROSS EUROPE
We need only 150 supporters to give £20 each (£3,000 target). This will raise enough cash for the packs. You can donate items too – please see the list of items mentioned below.
A dignity pack contains items such as:
For babies and children
nappies, baby wipes, baby lotion, sudocrem, insect repellant, suntan cream, vaseline, shampoo, shower gel, combs, nit combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, nail clippers, hair bands.
For men and women
insect repellant, shampoo, shower gel, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, lip balm, wipes, combs, nit combs, hairbrushes, hair bands, nail clippers, tweezers, sanitary towels and pants, suntan cream, baby lotion, face cream, vaseline
Why your donations are needed?
A refugee is a person who is being persecuted for whatever reason and is unable to avail themselves of protection from their own country.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 11.4 million Syrian population has been displaced internally and externally – 7.5 million Syrian children, inside and outside the country, are in need of humanitarian aid. 2.6 million children are no longer in schools and 2 million are living as refugees in neighbouring countries or on the run in search of safety. Many have witnessed or been subject to severe human rights violations, multiple massacres and torture.
Over the past few months there have been several articles in the local press e.g. the ‘Redditch Standard’ on life in the camps and the work of ‘Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees’.
There have been various BBC2 documentaries on why people become refugees, their journey to Europe and about life in the camps eg “Exodus”, “The Refugee Camp: Our Desert Home” (Anita Rani from ‘Country file’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ reporting on daily life in a Syrian refugee camp).
What you can do to help?
Donate items to go into the dignity packs and/or donate £20 each to this campaign.
Three ways to give your donations:
- Pay via PayPal
- You can pay for the dignity packs £20 or more directly into the BRWR bank account via the PayPal account. Please visit our website brwr.uk
- For reference please quote ‘ dignity packs’
- Pay by cheque payable to:
Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees. Quote reference ‘Dignity Packs’ on the back of the cheque and post it to Naeem Arif, Vice chairman of BRWR, 13 Dawson Road, Bromsgrove, B61 7JF
- Take your chosen goods from the list of items for the dignity packs to one of the following collection points:
Time: 2pm to 5pm
Dates: 27th August, 1st October, 5th November
Venues: Jinnah Road Mosque (near B&Q) B98 7ER, contact person: Tasnim Khawaja
The Bridge Church (St. Luke’s Church), Evesham Road, Redditch B97 4JX, contact person: Sue Yeng
During business hours:
Knights Pharmacy, Market Street, Bromsgrove B61 8DA
Please clearly label the box/bag stating ‘ ITEMS FOR DIGNITY PACKS’.
Further information about this campaign can be obtained from:
Naeem Arif mobile # 07722429304
If you are interested in donating essential items to help people in the Calais refugee camp, have a look at our list below.
The next collection day is Saturday 27th August, with collection points at the Central Mosque (Jinnah Rd) and The Bridge Church (Evesham Road) open between 2pm and 5pm. Thank you.
ITEMS WANTED FOR CALAIS COLLECTION:
Leggings, long sleeved tops, tunic or long dresses (up to size 16), jumpers, cardigans, coats & decent bras. (Modest clothing only please. No low-cut tops or short skirts.)
T-shirts, hoodies, trousers, jumpers, joggers & coats. (Nothing in XL please.)
Jumpers, trousers, dresses, skirts, shirts, T shirts, shoes, warm hats, new socks & pants.
New underwear & socks for everyone please! Men, women & children. (Men’s boxer shorts not Y-fronts please) (Women’s underwear up to size 14 please) (Children’s underwear of all ages).
Soap, shampoo, toothpaste & toothbrushes. Razors & sanitary towels. Nail clippers, towels, new combs & hair brushes.
Nappies & baby wipes. No children toys please!
Footwear & Weather
Walking boots, sturdy shoes, trainers & sandals. Hats & Gloves. Waterproofs. Pushchairs for kids too.
Camping & Sleeping Gear
Camping stoves, pots, pans, plates, cups & kettles. Complete tents, sleeping bags, blankets, roll-mats, tarpaulins & groundsheets. Padlocks with keys please.
Small kitchen items that require no electricity; eg. tin openers, spatulas & spoons, mugs, plates & bowls.
Short grain rice, dried pulses & dried fruit, tea bags, tinned vegetables & fish (tins with ring pulls please).
Sixty-five years ago today in an unremarkable room in Geneva, a life saving commitment was made.
It was the summer of 1951 and the horrors of the Second World War were still fresh in everyone’s minds. Just a few years earlier amidst Europe’s darkest days, western nations had shamefully turned boatloads of Jewish refugees away from safety.
As a result, 65 years ago after weeks of legal wrangling, 26 nations, vowing to never to make those mistakes again, adopted the Refugee Convention – the Magna Carta of international refugee law.
At the same time back here in Britain, the organisations which later became the Refugee Council were founded to ensure that refugees who sought safety in Britain had somewhere to turn.
Although it’s our 65th birthday, we’re not asking for any presents. We’re just asking you to do one simple thing.
Please watch this four minute video.