On a crisp clear day last week Matilda and I cycled through crowds and commuters to Amnesty International Headquarters in London to the Refugee Week Conference. We came from a range of groups and organisations across the UK to share ideas and get inspiration for this year’s Refugee Week, a week in June which celebrates the contribution that refugees bring to our communities.
This year the theme is “20” as we are celebrating 20 years of refugee week. We were encouraged to consider Refugee Week as a birthday party and what gift we would bring to the party. We thought about the sights, sounds and smells conjured up by Refugee Week. Our thoughts were noted down and converted into an excellent 20-line poem by poet Fatima Diriye.
We were treated to a smorgasbord of culinary delights from Somalia, Syria, Eritrea, and West Africa which piled up into a mountain on our plates. Flavours, textures and colours… The food really was fantastic and a good reminder of the richness that diversity brings.
We heard from various organisations and individuals before splitting off into our respective workshops. My workshop was exploring ways we can reach those who don’t normally get involved with Refugee Week. One suggestion sparked another, and by the end of the morning we had lots of new ideas. It would be great to bring more people into the summer festivities, to celebrate and to increase understanding between different communities.
In the afternoon we heard stories and songs and saw film and art pieces, communication and expression which crosses the barriers of language and culture. There is so much talent and expertise to be shared during Refugee Week and I’m excited to be a part of it, and to see what this year holds. You can find out what’s happening near you on the website http://refugeeweek.org.uk/events/
, why not come along, and bring your friends?
ACH will be running events as part of Refugee Week, so make sure you keep any eye out for what's happening in Bristol, Birmingham and Wolverhampton as well!