“You can’t impose empowerment”

Community Sponsorship naturally attracts people who want to help others. You get involved because you want to help refugees in a practical way. But sometimes helping people can disempower them. So how do you empower newly arrived refugees rather than simply help them? Eveline, a Community Sponsor in Bristol, gives us her reflections on this question.

“Well, now you have sons”

Community Sponsorship volunteer Svenja Powell is one of the founding members of Canterbury Welcomes Refugees. The group first welcomed a Syrian refugee family in 2019: a mother and father, their two grown-up sons and their two primary-age children. Here Svenja tells us about lifting language barriers, a cautious introduction to Father Christmas and doorstep story-telling during lockdown.

“They gave me hope.”

Zahar and Lena arrived in a small market town in Lincolnshire just as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. At first they wanted to leave as quickly as possible and move to a bigger, more diverse city. But now they say they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else and are volunteering with their Community Sponsorship group to welcome another family to the area.