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For the past three decades, June has been a kick-off period for Refugee Week in which the contributions and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers have been celebrated in the UK and worldwide.

This festival offers a programme with numerous educational, cultural, artistic, media and many more events that could help better understand why people are forced to migrate. Refugees and asylum seekers also contribute to the events, and through creative media, give insights into their challenges and share healing experiences from their own perspectives. Refugees and asylum seekers make valuable contributions to British society, and Refugee Week is a great platform to share experiences and discuss ways to improve their healing and reintegration journeys.

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Organise an event

We encourage staff and students to attend, get involved and even organise your own event!

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This year’s focus on healing emphasises refugees’ ability to recover from challenges of forced migration and to rebuild their lives after being forced to flee their country of origin. Displaced individuals face a number of challenges in the societies in which they have sought safety. This includes barriers to accessing higher education.

Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that: Everyone has the right to education. But education is not just about widening one’s knowledge and acquiring a degree. Engagement with education can create a new sense of belonging, strengthen confidence and enable greater involvement in civil society.

Universities of Sanctuary

St Mary’s University has for the past ten years offered fee waivers and other funding to refugees and asylum seekers on an informal basis. Following the Sanctuary Scholarships provided as part of the Article 26 project in the past, St Mary’s University is currently working to become a University of Sanctuary.

The University of Sanctuary and St Mary’s University strongly share an ethos of inclusivity, which is to continue to raise awareness on the importance of education and promote a welcome culture for those seeking safety in our communities.

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If successful, St. Mary’s University will receive recognition for the support it offers and will also commit to continuing to offer resources for refugees in the Higher Education context, hence playing a central role in the integration of refugees and asylum seekers.

Providing a ‘healing’ learning environment in which sanctuary seeking students feel safe with other peers and lecturers is crucial for any university that has inclusivity at its heart. This will ensure that all individuals regardless of their status will have access to gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the community they live in.

Bakhita Centre conference, February 2023

Committed to the theme of Healing, the Bakhita Centre is hosting a 3-day conference in February 8-10th 2023 to further explore healing pathways and modalities for victims of modern slavery, asylum seekers and refugees. Watch the Bakhita Centre webpage for more information on this conference.

Posted by the Bakhita Centre Team