A sprawling monologue in which lots of us do a little bit.
Yesterday I was really anxious and preocupied with work. I do insist on having ideas (this time it’s interactive online training) and I find following them through quite anxiety-inducing.
Then I got to the Stories and Supper project, where we are planning a supper club that challenges some media narratives on refugees and also supports the refugees themselves. A young guy was there – he’d been there in week 1 and i wasn’t sure we’d see him back. He has just got his refugee status in the UK – and a month later, is now out of his ‘asylum seeker’ accomodation and homeless. In the UK, you get one month after being allowed to stay – to find a job, access English lessons, find the deposit for a room, and find a room.
It put my anxiety in perspective.
Anyhoo. I said “let’s refer you to Refugees at Home.”
I happen to know they rock because we have hosted. I got random bits of information out of him and told them on their nifty online form (developed by a volunteer, as was everything) the little I knew about him (“His favourite food is a tomato salad with lemon juice and garlic” – it is a food project we’re doing so that was pretty much all I know! That – and he smiles alot).
I said “I hope… I try…” we smiled… and we left it at that.
This afternoon I got an email. Turns out two other people have also referred him. So it didn’t matter too much that my details were patchy. Perhaps it was just enough.
And there’s a guy in London who can host him for a few nights. They’re working on a longer plan. And they bothered to tell me too.
So across London, people are doing these little bits. And they’re adding up to something. I’m so glad.
If you can host, just for a few nights, please consider it. It will have a long term affect. I came across a pretty beautiful story of hosting today too- in Germany. And the guy who stayed with us has a room now. This is us on his last day. CHEESY PIC!
If you’d like some resources make your Volunteer Coordinator life easier, if you work in Volunteer Management or involve people as a volunteer (like every single one of the lovely people at Refugees at Home) you might be interested in this training with free Q+S. Access from anywhere. See you there!