News / Refugee Week 2021 – Why we celebrate it and highlighting the London Faith & Belief Community Awards winners that support displaced people 

Refugee Week 2021 – Why we celebrate it and highlighting the London Faith & Belief Community Awards winners that support displaced people 

News / Blog

F&BF Communications

15 / 06 / 21

by Nicholas McDonald

From June 14th to June 20th, Refugee Week is a celebrating and honouring refugees around the world – highlighting their struggles, recognising their courage and spreading awareness. This blog will explore the importance of honouring refugees in the UK, and highlight some of the refugee-based London Faith & Belief Community Awards winners. 

Refugee Week begins on June 14th and ends on June 20th with World Refugee Day. This is a weeklong celebration and festival of refugees, both in the past and in present day, with the aim of honouring, reckoning and acknowledging those who have fled conflict in their homes, to find sanctuary and a better life. Through celebrating Refugee Week, those involved hope to bring awareness to the resilience of – and the contributions to the UK’s society, culture and arts by – displaced people across the country. Educational, artistic, cultural and sports programmes are used to allow communities to connect with refugees and people seeking sanctuary, creating stronger, more diverse and safer communities, that goes beyond labels. It is a week to shine a much-needed spotlight on the refugee and asylum seeker communities that exist all across the UK, and to bring awareness to the groups and organisations that work tirelessly to support displaced people.  

One such organisation that provides invaluable work for refugees and migrants is Our Second Home, a London Faith & Belief Community Award winner from 2020. Based in Barnet, Our Second is a youth movement, based on Jewish Summer Camps, that works to empower refugees and displaced people to flourish and grow, using residential programming and leadership training. Beginning in 2018, Our Second was set up to fill in the lack of community support for young refugees across the UK, allowing them to build connections and support networks and making them feel at home. For their important and vital work, Our Second Home was awarded £500 in the Inspiring Youth category of the London Faith & Belief Community Awards. 

We asked Amos Schonfield, Director of Our Second Home, a few questions on their work, it’s importance and why they enjoy what they do, below: 

  • Refugee Week’s vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution, how does your work support this goal? Our Second Home is a youth movement that helps refugees and migrants flourish in the place they call home through residential programming and leadership training. We work with our members to create communities and empower refugees and people seeking asylum because breaking down barriers and encouraging members to take on positions of leadership because breaking down barriers are crucial to them living a life of dignity.  
  • How important is it to share the stories from refugee communities? For too long, we have spoken about refugees, but never let refugees themselves be a part of the conversation, let alone lead it. The only way we can tackle dehumanisation and change hearts and minds is for people with power to lift up the voices from refugee communities.  
  • What do you enjoy about your work with refugee communities and individuals? Every person we work with has their own story behind the label of ‘refugee’ that we are told to be scared of, and I love learning more about each and every one of them, but something that all the young people we work with have in common is their incredible generosity and humility. I am lucky that they chose to take part in OSH. 

To find out more about Our Second Home, you can visit their websiteFacebookTwitter and Instagram pages. 

There exists countless other refugee-based and led organisations across the UK, that do the necessary tasks to support displaced individuals, communities and families, to make them feel safe, included, empowered and celebrated. These include many London Faith & Belief Community Award winners such as Babel’s Blessing (2020), Barnet Refugee Service (2019), Abraham’s Tent Project (2018), Jesuit Refugee Service (2018), Lewisham Churches Asylum Seekers Foodbank (2018), Alyth Refugee Drop-In (2017), Refugee Cricket Project (2017) and Streatham Drop-in Centre (2017). 

As 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the UN’s Genea Refugee Convention of 1951, it is now more important than ever to honour and highlight those who have fled persecution and conflict in their countries of origin. In and ever changing and unstable world, it is vital that we recognise those who have fought strongly and resiliently to make a better life and safer home for themselves and their families. It is also important to spotlight the rich diversity that refugee communities bring to the UK, and celebrate their countless contributions to our nation’s society, culture, arts, sports, music and so much more. Events celebrating Refugee Week are being held up and down the country and online – so make sure to get involved. 

Last week nominations were opened for 5th London Faith and Belief Community Awards. If you know of any unsung heroes that work to support and empower refugees and displaced people, you can nominate them here, and learn more about the awards here. 

Related news

Subscribe to our mailing list

    We will add your details to our mailing list for the latest news, events and opportunities, including details of how to support us. You can opt out at any time. Your details are safe with us. We will never share them with anyone else. Check out our Privacy Policy.