Refugee Week takes place every year starting on World Refugee Day on the 20th June and continues until the 26th June. The theme for this year’s Refugee Week is healing.
Taken from www.refugeeweek.org.uk:
“Healing means recovering from a painful experience or situation, so that we can continue to live. No-one understands this better than those who have lost their homes and had to build new lives from scratch. We have much to learn from refugees about holding onto hope when going on seems impossible…”
In the last five years, we have looked after 68 UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children), with 38 of those being referred to us since April 2021. They have also come from 14 different countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.
Samantha Burton, West Sussex Chaplain, caught up with three of our UASC residents from YMCA Crawley Foyer, Kiki, Yousif and Ruta, to find out what difference YMCA DLG has made to their lives and to learn about how they look after their wellbeing.
How has YMCA accommodation made a difference to you?
Kiki: The YMCA has been very good for me – they take care of me, when I’m sick they check in with me and they make sure I am alright – make a drink if I need. For example, with current tooth pain, they support me to feel better and still get to college, which is very important. Also on Tuesdays, we are cooking together, eating together and talking, which has helped me with improving my English, and it’s welcoming. In the country that I have come from, I did not have these things. So being in England is better for me.
Ruta: It’s made a lot of difference – especially the curfew at 11pm! That there is someone to check in on me and make sure I’m OK – like a parent would. I have lots of advice from all the staff, with any problems they help me out, and they have helped improve my English especially on Tuesday evenings because I have more people to talk to and I’ve improved my cooking skills.
Yousif: YMCA has helped me feel safer, and to improve my English speaking. The night staff too are very helpful, if I don’t know a word, I feel I can ask them and they always help.
What do you do to look after your own wellbeing?
Kiki: Going to college and learning English to gain a job, and getting better with English to talk with people and when I am not at college I clean – this makes me feel better – and I also read books – for example I am reading the Bible and also a book about all the countries in the world, in English.
Ruta: Sleeping! And chatting with the night staff helps me to forget my stress.
Yousif: Going out with my friends and chilling in my room – with music, watching YouTube or movies on my laptop.
What advice would you give to another young person starting their journey?
Ruta: Stay strong and stay safe – don’t focus on the past, instead focus on the future.
Yousif: Don’t go near bad people!
What had made your journey easier?
Yousif: Meeting good people in Crawley!
Ruta: I really like the Tuesday Chaplaincy; it should happen more!
To find out more about Refugee Week, please visit Refugee Week.