By: JudyAnn Masters
Members of refugee welcome groups from around the UK attended a Safe Passage training day at Camden School for Girls in north London on 24 February. At least one person had travelled from Wales. The object of the day was to teach and share the tools and strategies needed to successfully bring refugee children here under the Dubs and Dublin Agreements and help vetted families to resettle in the UK. Nearly 50 people took part.
Sessions covered topics like: Negotiation Skills, Understanding the Opposition's Mind-set, Building Effective Teams, Media and Communications and Next Steps, Setting Goals. In his opening reflection Angican Bishop Jonathan Clark of Croydon said: "…it's your passion that creates the 'us' who will make a difference". The organisers stressed that "governments won't act unless we make them…if the politicians don't see the refugee crisis as current, then we haven't done our job yet."
There were testimonies about working with refugees or working with local Councils. Ruby Reich, a student at the school, told the story of her grandfather who came to the UK when only four years old on the Kindertransport in 1939. In an essay Ruby said the Kindertransport was important because "it helped people who were discriminated against when they haven't had the chance to defend themselves". Today her grandfather Erich works alongside Lord Dubs and others in resettling refugee children and families here in the UK. Ruby's ability to articulate her passion for the refugee children's welfare was particularly inspiring.
Safe Passage Campaigns team Co-Chair's Juliet Kilpin said: "it was inspiring to spend the day with a bunch of dedicated people who refuse to sit back and do nothing, but instead gave up their valuable time to pool their wisdom and resources to help some of the world's most vulnerable children find safety."
If you or your parish want more information regarding the workshop, on Safe Passage or other refugee groups in your area, then contact one of the team members listed below.
Alistair Rooms firstname.lastname@example.org,Beth Gardiner-Smith email@example.com,Hannah Gretton firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe Passage is run by London Citizens. For more information see: http://safepassage.org.uk/about-us/