Refugee Week is and has been an important week for asphaleia and our community of young people, professionals we work with, staff, trustees, and supporters. Our first project over 20 years ago was a reception house for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and subsequently other services developed out of a desire to meet other needs, such as accessing education and other support services.
Our founder, Dave Cottrell, had strong beliefs about the inherent value of every young person, here is an exerpt from our 'who we are' page:
Dave was passionate about children and young people, believing that all had the right to a positive future, the right to have the opportunity to dream big and ultimately, the right to believe that they are worth something valuable.
When a young person arrives at asphaleia all previous labels are removed; whatever has led them to us, we offer them the chance to start over. Dave did not want any young person to think they were not worthy of people who supported them to achieve their ambitions and their goals.
Over the past 20 years of working with many UASC young people, we have seen so much talent, achievement, and courage and will be celebrating our young people this week (keep reading for the first yp story) as well as sharing opportunities for you to get involved.
what is Refugee Week?
Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival that aims to celebrate the creativity, contributions and resilience of refugees. It was founded in 1998 and is now a growing global movement.
From the Refugee Week website:
Through a programme of arts, cultural and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns, Refugee Week brings about positive encounters between communities, helping them to connect and learn from each other, and promoting a culture of welcome.
Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, and anyone can get involved by holding or joining an event or activity. Refugee Week events happen in all kinds of different spaces and range from arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings and museum tours to football tournaments, public talks and activities in schools.
a talent in photography
D said she would like to do some photography one day after coming across cameras in a catalogue. To encourage her artistic talents staff asked her to take some photos of the vegetables being grown by her and the other young people in the placement.
D learnt how to zoom in and capture these amazing pictures. She was also shown how to edit and enhance photos taken to make them look even more amazing. D demonstrates she has a keen eye and artistic flare for photography and took some really great photos of the radishes, which seemed to appear overnight in the garden at our house that provides accommodation to UASC young people in West Sussex. D says they have grown well because she talks and sings to them.
With the support of staff, D also made this amazing chocolate cake for two of the young people in the placement whose birthdays are just a day apart this month. D has a kind and generous heart toward the other young people in the placement and sees them as family.
We will be sharing events and activities you can get involved with on our social media channels. As a first step, please visit www.refugeeweek.org.uk to see how you can get involved with their 8 Simple Acts campaign.