“I am here with my family and I have two boys. I think I am very lucky because I came here – I’ve been here 8 months only. We feel when we arrived here, safe and comfortable. My son has a new life and a new education.”
“I come from Syria. I live in a private flat now and am enjoying my life here. I am very much impressed with the kindness, helpfulness and generosity of the British people – I think I am not exaggerating to say.”
“I have been here for nearly 2 years. It was a very difficult experience to change my country, and my environment, my traditions and my culture. I am happy to tell you that I am settled now, I find a lot of English friends who stand beside me as brothers and sisters. I love them, I love you all.”
These quotes are taken from Syrian refugees living in Hounslow as they were talking on a film made by Refugees Welcome Hounslow (you can watch this film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMUytfEpgHU). Christians are compelled to welcome and receive strangers as part of our love for others and in part because we remember that Jesus himself and his family were once refugees. RWH was founded at a meeting here at St John’s hall some years ago when Rev Tom Gillum was vicar and exists to help and support the refugees our borough has received. You can find out more about RWH and what they do at their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rwhounslow/.
How can we practically stand with refugees? One way is to inform ourselves about the realities of being a refugee. This will then feed our prayers, conversations, choices and actions. The Windermere Children is a drama available on BBC Iplayer which tells the story of Jewish refugee children received at a camp in the lake district after the end of WW2. The Oscar-nominated documentary film For Sama depicts one woman’s attempt to live her life during wartime in the Syrian town of Aleppo and can be watched on Channel 4 on demand. Please be advised, both films are not easy viewing and are not suitable for young children. Other practical ways to help – read on for an idea about how your old bike might help refugees! If you’re interested in meeting the refugees in our borough that Refugees Welcome Hounslow supports, we will be welcoming the refugees to St John’s hall on the 26th April for lunch. Please let me know if you’d like to attend that day.