QE Amnesty Group Recognise Refugee Week

QE’s Amnesty Group held a highly successful series of events for Refugee Week this year.

The group kicked off the event on Monday with a campaign stall, spreading the message about Refugee Week itself. They also encouraged students to sign a petition supporting the ‘Lift the Ban’ campaign, asking for the rules to be changed to allow people seeking asylum the right to work while their application is being processed.

On Tuesday staff and students joined in a ‘big photo’ to launch the Amnesty Group’s ‘Thunderclap’ for #RefugeeWeek, encouraging people everywhere to add orange heart emojis to their social media accounts in solidarity with refugees.

For many in the group, the highlight of the week was a visit to college for an in-person conversation with Darlington Assistance for Refugees and their guest Jawid, a dentist from Afghanistan who talked about his experience of moving to the North East.

Erin Finn said, “Jawid’s testimony was really eye-opening. When you look at a person, you don’t see everything that has come with them. So, when we actually got to hear Jawid talk about his experience you could understand his perseverance – and that of other people like him.”

“Actually speaking to a real person in the room, without the media’s distortion, meant that it was more hard-hitting. You have a human being in front of you.”

Hope Whitten agreed. She was impressed by Fran from DAR. “Having someone there who is involved in supporting people like Jawid was really important to help us understand how we can help. She helped us relate to the wider experience of being a refugee in Darlington.”

On Thursday, the Amnesty Group organised a ‘Bring and buy bake sale’ to raise funds for Darlington Assistance for Refugees to help with the costs of hiring venues for drop-ins and transport. Thanks to the contributions of cakes – and also the healthy appetites – of teachers and students, the Bakesale raised £135.

Finally, on Friday, students took part in a ‘short film festival’, watching In Vitro, a science fiction film about the experience of a Palestinian woman from the future and her relationship with the memories of Palestinian refugees.

Summing up the week, Hope said, “It was nice to see so much support from students and teachers”.

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