This year, RSN is dedicating its fundraising appeal to Ashraf, Peshtaz' and Hannah's story.
We are so pleased to share that Hannah Towler is raising funds for RSN by running the London Marathon next year. With her and your help, we can continue to engage as many young people as possible, and bring RSN closer to securing a more welcoming, permanent new home. More building news to follow in 2020!
Hannah has seen first hand how young refugees and asylum seekers can benefit and grow from personalised educational support. Her two foster brothers, Peshtaz and Ashraf, fled the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan as young teenagers.
In the UK, foster family became family. Peshtaz and Ashraf put down roots in the Midlands with the Towlers. But on one normal occasion when Ashraf travelled to sign-on, he was detained by the Home Office and immediately transferred to a detention centre. When he was informed he would be removed from the UK, it broke the family apart.
“He'd been part of our family for 3 years and it was heartbreaking for all of us, as well as incomprehensible that he should be sent back at all. Luckily, RSN doesn’t want to give up on young people like him.”
Ashraf was forcibly removed to Afghanistan in 2013. It was at this point that Hannah’s family reached out to RSN for help.
"Mum looked everywhere for someone to help her understand the process. Getting support from RSN in order for us to help him from far away was incredible."
Support to Ashraf and his foster family was made possible through Youth on the Move, an RSN programme which helped young Afghans like Ashraf to access the practical, psychosocial and legal support they needed in the face of forced return. RSN’s support would go full circle when After Return, the research element of Youth on the Move, informed new UNHCR guidelines on assessing Afghan asylum claims, thereby supporting Peshtaz’ asylum case.
Hannah is running the marathon to raise money for RSN because she wants to help more young people like her foster brothers to build more hopeful futures.
“I recognise the kindness and support shown by RSN not just to Ashraf but to many young people, both through education and in a much broader, varied and holistic way” It is important to show compassion and provide support for those who have come to the country in such difficult circumstances."
We are promoting Hannah’s page because we believe the festive period is an opportunity to express gratitude for the family connections, friendships and relationships that make our lives meaningful. There is no story that embodies this sentiment, and our organisational value of Welcome, more than Ashraf’s, Peshtaz’ and Hannah’s story.
Will you join us?
We’re asking at a really important time. We are providing individualised educational support to as many young people as possible at the moment, as well as investing in new office space to facilitate our services and provide a safe space for refugees and asylum seekers.
£50 would facilitate a set of three one-to-one mentoring sessions for an isolated young person, in which specific barriers to progression can be identified and overcome.
£15 would allow specialist support worker to accompany a young person to a meeting with a doctor or lawyer that they would struggle to face alone.
£40 would pay for a training session for 15 new educational mentors.
£100 helps RSN provide a safe, welcoming environment for young refugees at 7 hubs across the country.
We have set an ambitious target, but we are confident that we can reach it together with your generous support. Hannah has already run the half marathon for RSN - but admits she is not as quick as Peshtaz just yet! - and has wanted to run the full marathon to help other young people and families navigate the system and foster hope this Christmas. Good luck Hannah!