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.
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 →
Action for Refugees was formed as a grouping of academics, support staff and students at Edge Hill University who felt a common need to respond to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and abroad.
The initial spark was created by a presentation given by members of staff in the Faculty of Education on their work as volunteers in the Calais Jungle. This prompted a multi-faceted response that included fund-raising, volunteering, curriculum developments and knowledge sharing and transfer events. Perhaps most importantly, the group engaged on a number of levels with refugees, asylum seekers and organisations working to support them.
We aim to promote a multi-faceted, positive, response to the refugee crisis that results in a greater understanding of and practical support for those involved.
Our intended outcomes are to:
Share relevant research.
Increase knowledge and understanding of the refugee crisis.
Provide practical support to refugees, asylum seekers and those agencies working with them.
Ensure that all teacher-training graduates from the Faculty of Education are better able to meet the learning requirements of refugees.
To learn from the experiences, skills and knowledge of refugees and asylum seekers.
We are very keen to ensure that the development of the group is led by the priorities of those directly involved. It is important to us that the group is open to refugees and asylum seekers as well as representatives from the wide range of organisations working to support them.
Prof John Diamond writes…
Prof John Diamond
The work colleagues – staff and students – are undertaking across both the Faculty of Education and the wider University to support refugee and asylum seekers and the various NGO support groups that exist here in the North West of England are a very real and practical example of how skills, knowledge and ideas can be shared and the effect of which can be transformative.
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.