A Yorkshire charity has celebrated Refugee Week by making a Wall of Kindness from donated clothes, food, toiletries, crockery, books and toys.
Bradford-based QED Foundation offers English language training to 60 learners from Bangladesh, Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria, many of whom have fled persecution in their home countries. But the staff and volunteer teaching assistants wanted to do more so they decided to leave their donations where those in need could help themselves.
‘All our students require support with reading, writing and communicating if they are to settle successfully in to their new communities successfully,’ says QED Foundation chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE. ‘But it is also important that they are listened to and valued and Refugee Week gives us the perfect opportunity to do just that.
‘All too often walls symbolise the barriers keep people apart but we wanted to use them as images of the ties that unite us.’
Learners were invited to talk about their life stories and views and to make drawings or write about their experiences. Their work was then displayed on a ‘Refugee Wall’. The classes also enjoyed refreshments and played board games with their teachers.
Walls of Kindness originated in Iran, when young people came up with the idea of putting hangers outside houses so that their neighbours could leave items like winter clothing for collection by more needy members of the community.
QED Foundation provides free ESOL classes to help new arrivals to the UK to develop the confidence to engage with their communities every Tuesday afternoon. Since 1990 it has supported 30,000 people from ethnic minority backgrounds through education and training and each year it helps 1,000 men and women to integrate into British life.
Refugee Week runs from 20 – 26 June and is a nationwide programme of events that encourages better understanding between communities.
For more information contact Dr Mohammed Ali OBE on 0300 500 1000 or 07812 010918, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.qed-uk.org
Note to editors: QED Foundation has been working to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sectors for 25 years. Its main focus is to enable and support mainstream organisations to work more effectively with ethnic minority groups. It also works directly with communities, delivering education, training, employment and health services.