Refugee Week is over for this year. Many thanks to all those who came to see our event ‘Compassion Counts‘, based on the theme of the week for this year. For those who couldn’t come, here is a brief review of what happened:
On Tuesday 20th June, narrowly missing the rain, we erected our gazebo in the Cathedral Gardens. Visitors were invited to add a ribbon of solidarity for local refugees and asylum seekers to the ‘walls” and also invited inside to see our displays.
This photo is from the end of day 1.
Inside the Gazebo
Inside, we showed photos of beautiful embroideries of food made by the Unity Centre Craft Group – the Unity Centre is part of Chester, Halton and Warrington Race Equality Centre and the craft group is attended mostly by people who are learning English at the centre. One photo showed a ‘dragon boat’ and, as ‘Dragon Boat Day’ (a National holiday in Hong Kong and China) coincidentally fell during Refugee Week this year, this was very much enjoyed particularly by those who have left Hong Kong.
We showed amazing, powerful poems written by local schoolgirls from Afghanistan. The girls spoke of their hopes for the future and their memories of Afghanistan. The poems were originally read in Chester Cathedral at an event supporting women’s education. We must also thank Marko, who came to Cheshire in September from Ukraine, and who painted this beautiful, yet haunting, picture especially for Refugee Week.
Additionally we had some of the sewn ‘messages’ we put up around the city last year on display.
Many people tried our short quiz and we had the word ‘compassion’ written in some of the many languages spoken in the city (and added to during the week) – around 30 collected so far! One of our main exhibits was a poster outlining our thoughts for a compassionate asylum system – you can see these on this site under ‘Campaigns, our Vision of Welcome.
End of the Week
After a lot of ribbon tying, by the end of the week, we were delighted to find well over 1000 people had added ribbons to the gazebo, often adding messages of support. I know this was much appreciated by sanctuary seekers who visited the event. Additionally almost £450 was given in donations which will be used directly to help provide a welcome to those locally who have had to try to find sanctuary locally.
We would like to thank all those who helped to make ‘Compassion Counts’ happen and most importantly thank all of you who came along – thank you.
Next year, Refugee Week will be 20-26 June – venue and event………to be decided!