If you were there then you know what a good meeting our two year celebration/ public meeting was. If not then you missed out. We heard some fascinating informative talks and thanked some of the many groups and organisations who have been so supportive of us over that period of time.
We are extremely grateful to Elim Church who allowed us to hold our meeting in their beautiful building free of charge and very grateful to Ruth who stayed to help us.
People were welcomed by Margaret our Chair and encouraged to review the information, to sign the petition asking our Mp to support Geraint James Swansea Mp in his appeal to the Home Secretary to investigate the circumstances of our friend Eyob’s death and the treatment of Asylum seeking people and to consider the ‘selfie’ appeal for abolition of detention.
Some of our wonderful supporters and the ‘selfie’ appeal
First Joyce Watson spoke about modern day slavery and human trafficking. The national referral centre dealt with 2000 cases last year. This massive increase is linked to the financial crash and the refugee crisis. The large numbers of unaccompanied children in Europe are especially vulnerable to this exploitation. Joyce made the case that safe passages for seeking refuge and cooperation on resettlement would reduce the risk of people falling into the hands of slavers.
The Welsh government has identified places and funding for children who should be resettled under the Dubs scheme but U.K. Government still won’t let the children in
She also mentioned the need for ethical procurement of goods including in supply chains (eg. That the suppliers pay a living wage and don’t use child labour). She mentioned the work that the Welsh government has done on the inquiry into asylum seeking and that the recommendations of the inquiry are being implemented.
Kirsty then spoke about her pride in being part of our group since soon after inception and how she is amazed at how much has been achieved. She then spoke about how delighted she was that two schools in her area have been awarded sanctuary status and her delight in being involved with Cradoc School away day and the award presentation. She made the point that by ensuring that children have the chance to realise all that all humans have in common and that people seeking refuge are not dissimilar from ‘us ‘ in needs and aspirations, then it is possible that future society will be kinder and more welcoming. She mentioned a new anti bullying strategy, a pupil development grant open to all children in need, the need to ensure teachers in training were equipped to counter racism, bullying and to teach about diversity and to support parents. For parents seeking asylum she wants to ensure rapid access to ESOL courses so they can support their children’s education. The school curriculum is being changed to reflect the need to deliver ethically informed citizens who are able to work. She finished by talking about countering hatred / racism by trying to put oneself into the others shoes and wondering what was fuelling their fear.
Then Rebecca Scott spoke to us about the aspiration for Wales to be recognised as a Nation of Sanctuary that would be a nation where all people were welcomed, understood and their contributions celebrated. The approach is to ensure all the main services and employers are signed up to being places of welcome and safety and then work on how this becomes tangible. To ensure that when people seek asylum here they are able to access services to make them ready for taking part in society when they are awarded refugee status so able to speak the language , have training and education. The need to ensure employers are welcoming and the Wales TUC have just signed a sanctuary pledge. Final thing is to ensure communities are engaged and able to help. She emphasised the need to abolish destitution. She also said what an inspiration HBTSR has been to so many other groups and people.
The film of Eyob produced as part of Thanks Swansea by Bloom brought many of the room near to tears as they realised this educated,articulate man had been driven to suicide after a prolonged period of destitution.
The film of the day out in Crai ended the evening on an optimistic note however and throughout the evening we awarded our certificates to groups who had helped us. Unfortunately, by then the camera had died!
Awards made to show our gratitude to groups , businesses and organisations who have made considerable and sustained contributions to help us to help people seeking asylum and refuge.
Ty Mawr Lime Ltd
Brecon and Radnorshire Liberal Democrats Brecon Office
St Mary’s Church Hay
Brecon St John’s Centre and Foodbank
Cor Meibion Talgarth Male voice choir
Talgarth Town Council
Talgarth Football club
Brecon Beacons National Park Community Development
Criw Craggy Volunteers
Love at first bake for generous donation of delicious gluten free cakes
W.M Morrisons Supermarkets PLC Brecon
Aldi Stores Ltd Brecon
Neil Jones and Cate Peters Design Umbrella..
We also thank all our other supporters and helpers without whom nothing would have been achieved. It has been an amazing experience getting to know so many wonderful people over the last 2 years
Sent from my iPad