The Sanctuary University scheme is relatively new, but is growing rapidly, with universities across the country, from Winchester in the south to Edinburgh in the north enjoying Sanctuary University status. The scheme aims:
‘to inspire and support universities to develop a culture and a practice of welcome within their own institutions, in their wider communities, and across the Higher Education sector in the UK’.
I attended the Sanctuary Universities Conference hosted
by York St John last week.
The conference programme was an exciting mix of practitioner experience, research and students sharing their work and experiences. It was really moving to hear from students about the impact the Sanctuary awards had had on their lives, and great to see their talent and hard work on display as student members of the steering group co-chaired the event. Representatives of NGOs such as RefuAid and CARA shared their work on supporting refugee access to Higher Education.
Unfortunately Edge Hill is not a member of this supportive network, but all universities can access their resources, and the network continues to welcome new members.
THE has recently published on the state of Syrian universities and Syrian academics in exile.
CARA, the charity set up in 1933 to support academics escaping Nazism, supports universities in the UK to host refugee academics. In the North West, major universities including Liverpool John Moores and Liverpool Hope are members, enabling refugee academics to teach and research in safety.
CARA are also supporting refugee Syrian academics to conduct research in collaboration with UK universities: Continue reading →
Refugee week 2019 is next week! Check out the free resources to celebrate refugee week online via the website.
The site includes a wide range of education resources including lesson plans and resources for primary and secondary classes. We’d love to hear what you’re doing for Refugee Week – share via Action for Refugees twitter or if you’re an FoE student via @EHU_FOE
Action for Refugees are delighted to welcome Anna Jones, RefuAid co-founder, to campus to speak about the innovative work of this award-winning NGO.
RefuAid was founded in 2015 in an effort to provide a practical response to forced migration for refugees and asylum-seekers living in the UK. Their primary focus is to provide solutions to the main barriers facing refugees trying to restart their life in the UK: finance, re-qualification and language tuition.
Mike Stoddart and Jo Watt of Action for Refugees, Edge Hill University
I was able to return to Calais at the turn of the year to deliver much-needed donations from people concerned regarding the desperate situation there. My vehicle was packed with donations of warm clothes, food and toiletries in response to Care4Calais’ (C4C) #Coats4Calais appeal. My trip was kindly supported by the Global Unity Society of Edge Hill University students union.
I travelled overnight after finishing work on the Friday then caught a ferry from Dover to Calais. On arrival in Calais I drove to an industrial estate not far from the port where many of the refugees try to survive as best they can amid the industrial units and wasteland.
All afternoon volunteers from Care4Calais were busy providing valuable services to the refugees.
Verrotieres, sometimes known as the new Jungle. Image from Google maps.
Most importantly, they were distributing footwear for the refugees. These are classed by the charity as high value items because of their importance in cold, wet weather and the need to avoid medical problems that arise from having constantly cold, wet feet. It is a constant struggle to keep warm and dry as being wet and cold quickly takes its toll on the body and spirit. The volunteers were also providing hot drinks and just as importantly, taking care to engage in conversation with as many people as they could. Continue reading →
Can you donate a coat to keep a refugee warm this winter?
Over 3,000 refugees are currently sleeping rough in Northern France, and temperatures are rapidly dropping. Some as young as 13, with no access to clean clothes, water or shelter. So this holiday season our goal is to provide each and every one of these refugees with a warm winter coat. To do this we URGENTLY need your help.
On a warm July evening the Wanderers Wanderers took to the field in the annual staff football tournament in memory of Tom Bell. The organisers were kind enough to welcome players from the local refugee community to take part in the tournament for a second year.
An intended outcome for the Action for refugee group is provide practical support to refugees, asylum seekers and those agencies working with them. Football provides an enjoyable and practicable vehicle to do this.
Staff from Edge Hill played in the tournament team. In addition trainees and staff have played matches organised by Dr Jack Sugden from the Faculty of Arts and Science. Jack has extensively researched the ability of sport to bring groups together.
The Department of Education and Communities (within the Faculty of Education) has within its vision identified the importance of ‘ valuing and engaging with all our diverse communities’. Primary trainee teachers have taken part in Refugee Welcome days that include football as an important aspect.
If you are interested in getting involved with football and the wider community please contact
The Syrian community in Liverpool organised, at very short notice, a moving demonstration in support of their compatriots and, in some cases, former neighbours caught up in the siege of Eastern Ghouta. This was in response to the escalation of the attacks by Syrian government forces and Russian warplanes on Sunday 19 February. Hundreds of people including women and children were killed in the space of a few days.
I spoke to people at the gathering who were waiting for news of loved-ones and others who had already been told the worst about family and friends. The dignity of all present was very striking. It was also interesting to note that there was no collection of money at the event. The main aims were to raise awareness of the situation and seek support for the victims.
The day before the demonstration, the UN passed a resolution (with the support of Russia) for a 30 day ceasefire. However, on the day of the demonstration government forces were still attacking Eastern Ghouta. The situation remains desperate with an estimated 1,500 people killed since February. It is estimated that the conflict in Syria has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced more than 11 million others. A very small but important number of these are now settled in our region.
If you are interested in supporting the refugees based in our area, please see our volunteering page for more information.
More events, calls for papers, new research and other information related to work with refugees that we think should be shared.
Documentaryabout seeking asylum in the UK and the detention process.
A Qualitative Research Symposium ‘Understanding Migration’ is to be held on the 12th April at UEA, designed to be as accessible and interactive as possible for interdisciplinary staff and PGR students working in migration research. For more information see their website.
British Academy funded research into urban refugees’ experiences in the Global South reports in their new blog.
Learning resources designed to facilitate an exploration of LGBT and migrant lives and, more generally, an engagement with issues of equality and diversity, are now available to download from ‘Intimate Migrations’:
There’s a lot of events, calls for papers, new research and other information related to work with refugees that we think needs to be shared as widely as possible.
At Edge Hill, a new Migration Working Group has been set up, led by Dr Zana Vathi.
Gramnet (the network for community members and scholars working in the field of migration and refugee studies at Glasgow University) is currently promoting their film series. Maybe this kind of film event is something we should look at hosting in EHU?
Natakallam is a new online social venture, aiming to link refugees with communities globally through language teaching. You can make a connection with a refugee in camps in Syria, and hear about the refugee crisis first hand.
Care4Calais’ latest news reports the French government’s provision of food for refugees (and the problems with it).
Action for Refugees is very interested in how refugees access university – we’re keen to find out more about that experience. We’re not the only ones: a new researcher in access to HE is looking for refugee participants to talk about their experiences of accessing university. STAR, the university based student network for refugees are currently advertising for an Access to University coordinator.
For those looking for support now, the Refugee Support Network can offer advice to young people (18-25) looking to apply to university, by phone and email. Closer to home, find out about applying for EHU’s Sanctuary Scholarship scheme here.