We're excited to launch our 2018 Christmas appeal: Give Presence.
As young people flee conflict in countries like Sudan, Eritrea and Syria to find safety in the UK, they tell us that education is crucial for rebuilding their confidence, their sense of belonging and, most importantly, their hope for the future.
But young refugees and asylum seekers face many challenges and barriers to progressing in their education once they arrive in the UK - such as language barriers, poor mental health and trauma, isolation from peers and support networks, and immigration related challenges.
Through our specialist educational support programme, Refugee Support Network gives presence to these young people by providing face to face, individual advice, advocacy and psychosocial support to help them overcome these challenges and find hope through education.
One young person, Sara, told us:
“I can say that there is a lightness now. The last few months were really hard, but it is feeling a bit better now. I'm thinking again about the future.”
Right now, RSN has young people on our waiting list for specialist support, and we need your help to reach them in the new year. So please, stand with refugees this Christmas and as you give presents, support us to give presence to a young refugee and know that you are giving the gift of a hopeful future.
Watch our video to hear our Director, Catherine, talking about why giving presence is so important:
What will your support do?
- £5 would pay for a young refugee to travel to attend a support session
- £20 allows our support worker to accompany a young person to a meeting with a doctor or immigration lawyer that they would struggle to go to alone
- £35 enables our support worker to work through particular challenges alongside a young person, such as filling in an application to fund course fees, or advocating with a college on their behalf
- £70 helps us provides a safe, welcoming environment for all our young people to meet our support worker
15 year old Sara fled conflict in her native Sudan, and arrived in the UK without any family connections or support.
RSN’s support worker began to meet with her every week to help her learn English, understand her educational options, and to provide a space for her to talk about her worries. Every time they met, she asked if she could come back tomorrow, or stay another hour, and our support worker was struck by her appetite for learning.
She walked alongside Sara throughout the asylum process, meetings with solicitors, doctors, and school staff, supporting her to feel believed and understood.
"There were times when I couldn't hope for myself any more. I would just have given up because I couldn't think to go on anymore. Actually, it was you guys that helped me to go on. I couldn't have done any of this without you. You kept encouraging me when it was too tough, and so I kept going. Really, I will always remember this."
RSN worked with Sara’s foster carer to achieve her dream of attending secondary school like a normal teenager. She proudly emailed us with a photograph of herself wearing her new school uniform for the first time.
As the refugee crisis continues, there are more young people like Sara who need our support to avoid dropping out of education and supportive networks, and we need your help to reach them.
We're so grateful to the lovely people at Pulse Management for their generous sponsorship of this campaign with the first £500! Pulse Management specialise in the design and delivery of exceptional projects to create engaging retail environments with an impeccable finish. We're committed to giving away a portion of our profits to charities and projects chosen by our staff. Our commitment to give something back drives us forward. This contributes to a fun-loving, hard-working environment of accountability and pride in what we do because were convinced that places make a difference to people.
"There are no words for how much you guys have supported me. I can't explain. It has been so much. You have a place in my heart forever."
You could help even further by:
- Signing up to our mailing list
- Tell your friends you’ve donated on social media by using the hashtag #GivePresence and tagging us - @rsn_uk on instagram, @refugee.support.network on Facebook and @refugee_support on Twitter
- Sharing our video to show why giving presence is so important
- Become a regular donor, and be a supportive presence for a young refugee all year round!