This year Refugee Week is from Monday 15th – 21st June, as with so many other events this year’s events will all largely take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re also sharing some moving poems and pieces written by Refugees which you can read below.

The digital events have been organised through a variety of fantastic groups, co-ordinated by City of Sanctuary.

Migrant Help’s ‘I Have Dreams’ with Salma Zulfiqar from Monday 15th June Migrant Help invite people to join a wonderful creative bubble, where we leave the outside world behind and let dreams lead the way. An online tutorial by the award-winning artist Salma Zulfiqar will be available from 15 June and provide inspiration to create a ‘My Dream’ picture.

Everyone will be invited to create a piece of art, write a poem or musing on the topic of ‘I have a dream’. Art supplies will be distributed to asylum seekers to enable them to take part in these activities. All the resulting pieces will be collected and exhibited to celebrate the importance of dreams and hopes for a better future. Get involved at Migrant Help UK

Online Craft Session at Artcore on Monday 15th June
Refugee Week themed “Crafternoon” art session on facebook live on Monday 15th June at 1.00pm – 1.45pm. The link to join is

Refugee Week Sporting Quiz by Derby County Community Trust on 15th, 16th, 17th June at 4.00pm
Online quiz organised by DCCT on 15th, 16th, 17th June. All quizzes start at 4.00pm, and activities will include: warm-up; football challenge; healthy eating/lifestyle; pick your best premier league team; etc. Email Gavin Lewis for more details and the zoom link

Ava Hunt Theatre’s Online Screening of Acting Alone on Wednesday 17th June
Ava Hunt Theatre are scheduling an online screening of Ava Hunt’s solo show ‘Acting Alone’ based on the stories of some of the people she met on her visit to Palestine refugee camps in 2014, from a film of the original performance. This will be on Wednesday 17 June at 7.30pm on YouTube. The streaming is a ”pay what you think’ digital performance with donations, via paypal going to DRAC and Friends of Alrowwad in Palestine.

Migrant Help’s Online Exhibition from Thursday 18th June
Migrant Help will host an online exhibition offering an opportunity to walk in the shoes of survivors of modern slavery. The visitors will be able to discover and share in the survivors’ stories, their dreams when they came to this country, and the new dreams they are building now as they leave their pasts behind. The exhibition will be available from Thursday 18th June. Details can be found on the Migrant Help UK website

Sanctuary Sunday at Derby Cathedral on Sunday 21st June
Sanctuary Sunday on 21st June will be marked at the Cathedral Eucharist at 10.45am, with special prayers and an address by the Revd Dr Inderjit Bhogal OBE. Inderjit is the founder and President of City of Sanctuary, a Methodist minister and a leader in interfaith and peace activity. The

Cathedral Eucharist will be livestreamed on the Cathedral facebook page and the order of service and other resources will be posted on the ‘Worship online’ page of the Cathedral’s website

Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity Short Film
DRS are putting together a 10-minute film based on photos from seawatch, care4calais and DRS to show the journey refugees have been on before they get to Derby and then the support and activities, they do through DRS. The film will be uploaded onto the refugee week website for viewing during that week.

Phosphoros Theatre Events
Phosphorus Theatre are putting on several events during refugee week.

Derby Museums

During Refugee Week, Derby Museums will be sharing thought-provoking items from their collection relating to refugees. Follow their Facebook / Instagram / Twitter @derbymuseums.

Information from the national refugee week team

Further information on what is being organised at a national level can be found here: refugeeweek.org.uk/events and refugeeweek.org.uk/covid-19

 

Two stories from families who have fostered unaccompanied asylum-seeker children

Testimonial 1
Our foster child came in to our care November 2018 we had initially requested to foster children between 4-10 years however our supervising social worker introduced us to him, we were reluctant at first because he was our first placement and he was a 15 year old Kurdish boy. We thought about it carefully before we agreed to foster him. He was a shy boy when he arrived and looked very out place however with time, effort and support he started to relax a lot more. Language was a huge barrier however we managed through pictures, google, and a few friends who spoke his native language.

I always worried about what he would like to eat especially with coming from a different culture. I googled Kurdish recipes and Kurdish food and found some similar recipes to what we eat and I adapted them so we could all eat the same. I was lucky to know someone who knew a Kurdish lady who during the 1st Ramadan cooked food for him. It was a whirlwind with all the meetings, emails, phone calls appointments and all the different professionals we met. The young person has grown in confidence and is at college and can speak some English. He likes to go to the gym and has a part-time job too.

Testimonial 2
I have fostered two female Vietnamese asylum seekers recently. These girls are a pleasure to foster. They are respectful and helpful with a high moral standing. Generally they like to work hard. Despite their traumas their behaviour is very good. Their traumas are often exacerbated by the process of asylum application and the length of time this can take (for one girl it was 3 ½ years and as she is now over 18 it meant that she could not work). They worry about their asylum application a lot.

Through the British Red Cross a close relative was found in the UK for one girl and she has moved to live with them but still keeps in touch and asks for advice when required.

My other young lady is studying and will go to college in Sept if possible. Lots of Vietnamese friends have been made locally through an asylum seekers youth group. She has a very happy and bubbly personality and has grown much closer to me during lock down and we have had lots of laughs together.