In just 9 years, RSN has grown from a small local project into a charity which now supports over 500 refugee and asylum-seeking children and young people every year.
In 2009, RSN piloted a small local project in north west London which demonstrated the value of educational mentoring for teenagers from war-torn countries who had arrived in the UK without their families. In partnership with a church and a further education college, ten young people – alone in an unfamiliar country and adjusting to life in the UK care system – were matched with a volunteer mentor to help them each week with their studies.
We saw that investing in young people’s education worked.
Young people’s self confidence grew, their mental health improved and they made progress in their education. They became more settled in their communities and they discovered real hope for the future. So we expanded our work to different parts of London, began to offer extra specialist support to young asylum seekers, refugees and survivors of trafficking facing particular educational challenges, and launched a national helpline to advise young people who aspire to university.
We took risks because the lives of young people matter.
A small but growing organisation, we've always committed to not only working directly with individual young people but to ensuring that their voices are heard by those who make the policies which impact their lives. That's why we travelled to Afghanistan to carry out research into what happened to former child asylum seekers sent back to Afghanistan after turning 18.
We are responding to the 'refugee crisis'.
The ‘refugee crisis’ has shone a spotlight on issues that we've been working at for the past few years. We've been overwhelmed by the generosity of members of the public who want to make young refugees welcome in the UK and have turned to us for help. Working with schools, colleges, universities, faith and community groups, government agencies and voluntary and statutory organisations, we're bringing our experience of supporting young refugees into the UK’s response to the current 'crisis' and are expanding our work into new cities.