Welcome Churches will be taking part in the Big Give #Christmaschallenge20 from 1-8 December 2020. We are raising money to welcome newly-arrived refugees through the Welcome Boxes project. This means that any money you donate from 1-8 December will be doubled and increase the impact.
This Christmas, we are raising funds to ensure that 400 additional refugees and asylum seekers receive a welcome in 2021 like Zara did (read the story below). Trained welcomers will not only deliver a Welcome Box, they will help the refugee settle into their new community, connect them with services they need and community activities they can join in with. But most of all they will be a friend who will walk alongside the refugee as they start to rebuild their lives in safety and peace.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, single parent Zara* from Iran was first moved to Bradford and then to Newcastle a couple of weeks later with her daughter. She didn’t know anyone, was housed in a tiny flat with no garden, had very few possessions and spoke limited English.
Then their doorbell rang and they opened the door to find Matt* and his friend standing there armed with a friendly smile and a Welcome Box of small gifts and toiletries. Zara was delighted at the (metaphorical) hand of friendship being extended to them, and was able to communicate a little of their situation through a few English phrases. The next time he popped by, Matt worked out that one of their main issues was boredom. He put together a bundle of things from his own home, including a pack of UNO cards, bath bombs, a yoga mat and paper and pens. He was also able to connect them with a Farsi-speaking group at his church. They were overjoyed to join a community where they could meet others from their home culture. Suddenly they have hope again.
Like Zara, most refugees are moved around the UK a number of times before they settle (normally 3-4 times). Many refugees are also carrying trauma from the experiences in their home country which forced them to flee. Welcome Boxes helps them to meet new friends and to find a place to belong.
*Names have been changed to protect their identity.