Action for Refugees supports the Migration Working Group North-West, led by Edge Hill academic Dr Zana Vathi. Members of AfR are affiliated to this new group, which brings together academics and activists across the region working in, or researching migration in the North-West. Affiliated members beyond Edge Hill include arts, health and housing organisations based in the region.
With the help of Refugee Action, an event was organised by members of the Syrian refugee community for Syrian ladies and children in Liverpool on the 25th of March 2018. Thanks to the active ladies and in co-ordination with Refugee Action, the event was a great success, it involved traditional Syrian food that was cooked by the participant ladies themselves.
It was so lovely to see the pride each lady has represented her dish with, as in Syrian culture expressing love and dedication get represented by the Syrian food that takes a long time to be made most of the times.
Some ladies shared with hand made products and presented one of their creations to the winner of one of the competitions, which was great joy to the ladies, there were some games and presents as well to give to the winners with one of the Syrian ladies doing Henna for the young children and the women which was received with great joy.
Everything was free as thanks to refugee action support the hire of the hall was covered by them which made it more enjoyable to all ladies.
Some ladies travelled from Huyton to attend the event and they felt that it made them feel much better as lots of them were worried about families and relatives in Syria but being surrounded by their friends made the nostalgia a bit easier to manage. The kids were running and laughing, as the language barrier still a big part of these womens lives it made them relax and enjoy the event by being able to express themselves in their mother tongue with people around them. The event was a success by all measures.
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.