Refugee Week is a UK festival that celebrates the resilience and contributions of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. It is a week-long celebration which centers around World Refugee Day on 20 June.
Refugee Week was established in 1988 to help challenge the xenophobia and hostility refugees faced from society and the media. It is now a national initiative that works towards combating the negative stigma, educating communities about the valuable contributions of refugees and giving them a safe place to live.
The annual celebration acts as a powerful platform for those to share their experiences and the challenges they face when seeking asylum. The week aims to create a safe place where communities can develop a better understanding of the issues that refugees face. It also offers an opportunity for people to be seen, listened to, and valued in their community.
Inclusivity is at the heart of the event, accompanied by activities and exhibitions which strive to bring everyone together to raise awareness of the history and challenges that refugees can face in their everyday lives.
We Cannot Walk Alone
This year, the theme for Refugee Week is ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’.
This theme stems from a speech delivered by Martin Luther King during the American Civil Rights Movement. However, the words still resonate with us today and relate to all aspects of our lives.
The theme encourages us to walk side-by-side with each other by reaching out to someone new. It inspires us to connect with new people and learn something valuable from each other.
Why not take part in Refugee Week Simple Acts inspired by this year’s theme? These are simple acts that we can incorporate into our everyday life to stand with refugees and make new, valuable connections.
Here are some ways you can get involved.
Whose Land? By Meduula
Meduulla, a Zimbabwean-born artist, poet and rapper uses her voice to raise awareness of the consequences of conflict with migration. This is an online event held on the 14 June.
Guardian at 200: Humanitarian issues and the power of the media
The John Rylands Research Institute and Library holds the entire archive of the Manchester Guardian. This panel of special guests and experts will discuss items from the archive and how it could impact our future.
Home, Street, City: Finding Sanctuary in Wakefield
From 26 May to 19 June, this exhibition celebrates artwork made by people in Wakefield during the pandemic, exploring experiences and memories of their homes.
At Leeds City College, we will also be taking part in Refugee Week.
Across the college there will be a creative competition around the themes of sanctuary in which students can participate in. Take a look at the competition poster for more information.
Leeds City College’s Enfield Centre will be hosting a range of events across the week too. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday they will be doing conversations with past learners on Radio ESOL.
On Sunday 20 June, Winner of the iLearn Creative Writing Competition, Hamider Khodrr, will write a new story especially for Refugee Week.
Staff at Leeds City College are encouraged to view these online resources to learn more about Refugee Week.
If you’d like to get support, there are many local services available.
Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network
A support group for asylum seekers to feel safe and listened to.
A refugee-led organisation which supports refugees, asylum seekers and Refugee Community Organisations.