World Refugee Day 2023

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Arhag is committed to raising awareness about the challenges refugees and migrants face. We have been speaking with one of our partners, RAMFEL, to share an inspiring story that exemplifies the reality of being a refugee seeking asylum in the UK.

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World Refugee Day is a significant event that unites communities, organisations, and governments across the globe in raising awareness about the challenges faced by individuals fleeing conflict or persecution. At Arhag, we believe in the importance of highlighting this day, as it serves as a reminder that everyone has the right to seek refuge and find safety, regardless of their background, and provides us with an opportunity to empathise with the struggles of those who have been forced to flee their country of origin.

To gain deeper insights into the experiences of refugees, we have been speaking with one of our partners, the Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL)—a non-profit organisation that provides vital assistance and support to vulnerable migrants and refugees seeking justice.

The 2023 theme of World Refugee Day is Hope away from Home and, today, we want to share an inspiring story that exemplifies the reality of being a refugee seeking asylum in the UK. Meet Leila, a refugee who fled her home country due to escalating danger. Leila made the difficult decision to part with her children and husband, with the hope of eventually reuniting as a family safely in the UK. Over a year has passed since Leila requested asylum, yet her case with the Home Office remains unresolved, leaving her unable to work or support herself.

Like many refugees in the UK, Leila and others are often placed in substandard hotel accommodations, grappling with social exclusion and constant worry about the safety and wellbeing of their families back home. Despite having a master's degree in psychology and years of work experience, Leila is unable to access employment and therefore lacks the means to support herself or reunite with her loved ones. RAMFEL, in addressing this issue, highlights the detrimental impact of meagre asylum support payments and the ban on working. As a result, individuals like Leila struggle to access essential services.

Unfortunately, Leila's situation is not uncommon, as many refugees in the UK suffer from mental health issues due to the uncertainty surrounding their asylum cases. In a proactive effort to seek an update on her situation, Leila penned a heartfelt letter to the Home Office, but, to this day, is still awaiting a response.

As a housing association with a strong social purpose, Arhag is committed to providing the best housing services for refugees in London, which we believe provides a platform to enable tenants to make a full contribution to their community. We offer ongoing opportunities and support to maximise our impact on the lives of those who live in an Arhag home.

Reflecting on the significance of World Refugee Day, Tina Bull, our Head of Housing, said, “Let us unite today in support of providing refugees with safe, dignified homes to enable their journey towards a bright and fulfilling future’.

On this World Refugee Day, we invite you to join us in raising awareness, supporting initiatives, and advocating for the rights and well-being of refugees and migrants. The Refugee Council is using #compassioninaction this refugee week to highlight local events around the country. Together, we can build a more inclusive society that values the potential of all individuals, regardless of their origins. At Arhag, we are committed to working closely with organisations like RAMFEL to make a difference in the lives of those who seek refuge and a place to call home.