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Change the story

Tax and human rights conference - Dublin 2015

Help change the story around refugees

Today, more than 65 million people are displaced globally. Forced from their homes by violence, fear or desperation, each is deserving of safety, freedom and hope.

The stories we hear and the stories we tell are important. They help us shape our thoughts, form our opinions and set the agenda.

So when refugees are portrayed negatively in the media, their inherent dignity is challenged. But every one of us has a voice in this story, and in times of political uncertainty at home our message of shared humanity is more important than ever.

 

Changing the story

We want to tell a story that upholds those escaping injustice and war, and that celebrates those who offer a welcome. 

We believe we are all created equal with the image of God within us. We stand for a UK and Ireland that refuses to turn a blind eye to the suffering of people seeking sanctuary.

While many communities and churches are united in welcoming those seeking refuge, the response of our governments has not matched the scale of the crisis.

Through sharing stories of hospitality, and the positive contributions that refugees make in our communities, we demonstrate our commitment to a United Kingdom and Ireland that refuses to turn a blind eye to suffering and affirms that everyone deserves a safe place to call home.

 

Behind the label

Asylum seekers and refugees in Belfast have been telling us their stories. Join us in celebrating these honest and brave accounts, which reveal the people and the struggle behind the label.

Witness the important contributions that they are making to their communities. Together, we can change the story.

 

Tax and human rights conference - Dublin 2015Justin

I would like people to know that I am a human being. Maybe the difference is my colour, and my very soft voice, and my big structure, but I breathe the same air you breathe.

I come from Ivory Coast. I was a teacher back home. I got involved in the student union and activities – that is how everything changed. I had to leave.

 

You lose so much and people don’t see it. If something happens to your relatives at home, you can’t go back. And people think that you have no education, no background.

God is helping me. Without him, I would not be able to do it.

 

Tax and human rights conference - Dublin 2015 Amran

I came with nothing, I couldn’t even bring photos of my children.

I literally ran from Somalia. There’s fighting everywhere. I don’t know where my husband and my mother are, I haven’t heard any news of them for two and a half years.

 

 

Belfast is a good place, it is safe. It was very hard applying for asylum, but I was granted refugee status. Now I learn English, I shop, and I cook. I would like to be a nurse.

I was so happy when my children came here. I live in a hostel, but I still have stress about finding a home for my family.

At times I feel negative, but more positive than negative.

 

Tax and human rights conference - Dublin 2015Naomi

I still have a life I believe, if I am able to work.

I’m from Kenya. I had to flee for my life. I studied business administration, but here I am volunteering at NICRAS.*

 

 

 

I'm quite ashamed to associate myself as an asylum seeker. In most places they see that you are less of a human. But the longer I am here, the more I see that people are welcoming.

I am funny… I am kind… I am hardworking. I am not alone regardless of what I have been going through. God will not abandon me.

 

* NICRAS is the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers. As volunteers, Justin, Naomi and a small team provide advice, food parcels, and outreach education to schools, churches and the community on asylum and refugee issues. Justin became chair of NICRAS in 2010. He has won three prestigious awards for his work supporting others.

 

How can you help?

Donate - give directly to our Refugee Crisis Appeal

Pray - read prayers and worship resources


Related news and blogs

The global refugee crisis
More than a million refugees crossed into Europe in 2015 but this is just a fraction of the tens of millions of people worldwide who have found themselves fleeing war, persecution and poverty

 

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