Category: Refugee services

‘The Swarm’ from Calais: a horror movie not showing near you


Kent roads in gridlock. Families missing their big summer holiday. There was even talk of sending in the army to defend our borders from ‘invading migrants’. So how did we get here – and what’s going on?

The media make it sound like a scene from a horror movie. The nameless Calais migrants storm into the tunnel under cover of night, wielding chainsaws, metal and sticks.

This “threat” to the nation seems clear in the papers. (One even put migrants and Hitler in the same headline.) Send in armies, Gurkhas, even Jason Stratham, if necessary – whatever it takes to defend our land.

But do you have five minutes to read this, before you barricade the doors?

It’s time to get the story straight.



The moment a mother reunites with her children – after four years apart


Family reunion Marie manchester

Marie had to flee the Ivory Coast suddenly, when her father was killed and her house destroyed. She’s been waiting to see her children ever since, with her life on pause – until today.

Marie is standing in the middle of Manchester airport. It’s the usual whirlwind of tourists, trolleys and tannoy announcements.

She waits by the arrival gate, gripping a small suitcase and a ‘Welcome home’ balloon – a nervous smile on her face. She is finally going to see her children after four long years.

The last time she was anywhere near them, she had just dodged a bullet. More

What hope in the refugee camp the size of Cambridge?


Mathias and his family fled violence in Burundi

“I was born in a refugee camp here in Tanzania in 1984. This is already my third time fleeing my home country,” Ndayisimiye Mathias says wearily.

He is one of thousands of Burundians waiting to be assigned their own tent at the Nyarugusu refugee camp.


Listen: what if it were your son crossing the Mediterranean?


A couple of Gulawi’s friends took their own lives, after claiming asylum in the UK. He says it was down to their treatment.

Gulawi now has strong feelings on how to make the world a better place – starting with kindness, compassion, and really knowing all the refugee facts.

Here are his thoughts.


Refugees: giving back what they get

© lulu2626

© lulu2626

For Refugee Week, we spoke to Hana and Jamal. They now call the UK their home – and are trying hard to become part of their new community.

Hana and Jamal are proud of their city. They both sing the praises of Bristol for a good half-hour. It’s hard to believe that they’ve only lived here a year.

The pair are clearly delighted with the place that gave them a home, after they had to flee for their lives. Both have big plans for the future and want to give something back.

They just need a little help to get there. More

Watch the moment an electro-pop singer met a Syrian refugee


When Kindness’ Adam Bainbridge met this Syrian refugee for the first time, they both agreed that music was the best way to show people his reasons for fleeing.

Earlier this Refugee Week, we announced some artists were pairing up with refugees for a forthcoming concept album.

To kickstart the project, singer Adam Bainbridge – known as Kindness – recently met Ayman Hirh.

Ayman fled his home country, Syria, when the fighting broke out in 2011. That conflict is still going on four years later. Last year, more people fled Syria than anywhere else in the world.

Pleased to share his experiences, Ayman told us: “Music is a worldwide language that anyone can understand.”

Watch when Kindness met Ayman


Sound and movement: a refugee playlist


Refugee Week celebrates the role of refugees in UK life and culture – and a good place to start is this 12-track playlist.

Refugee Week got off on the right note yesterday, as top musical talent signed on to create an album based on refugee true stories.

Music can be a great way to explore big issues like this – why is why we’ve created a Refugee Week playlist.

Some of these tunes comment on asylum, some don’t. But they’re all great songs that just happen to be by refugee artists.

You can listen to the tracks via YouTube below, or skip to the end of the blog to hear them on Spotify.

K’Naan – Wavin’ flag


United by a slice of cake


Sweets and a red car

Many refugees face a long road to settling into a new country and feeling safe and secure – and often food is a good link to home.

Imagine a birthday without a cake.

There’s a reason we use something sweet to mark big moments or milestones. Think of the tiered wedding cake or the months-in-the-making Christmas pud.

These sugary treats are often a strong link to childhood and home, which is why Free Cakes for Kids helps families who struggle to buy or make them.

The British Red Cross has referred quite a few refugees to the charity – and seen how even something as inconsequential as a cake sponge can help bring a community together. More