Last Monday’s training on Understanding Refugees & Asylum a Half Day Course for Agencies in Rochdale found four Community Champions attended training facilitated by Rochdale’s New Shamwari Project.
‘Shamwari’ means ‘friend’ in the Shona language the principle language of Zimbabwe, an appropriate name when we learnt something of the ethos & aims of the project from Sameera Ali & Rina Begum who introduced the courses facilitator Anna Webster who delivers such training sessions sharing her extensive working knowledge & professional expertise in the field across the North West.
In the space of three information packed hours we learnt the diffidence between an Asylum Seeker and a Refugee, and the distinction between an Economic Migrant and a European Migrant who is granted Refugee status, who is refused and the grounds why they might be refused along with the very latest Asylum & Refugee statistics for Rochdale.
To conclude we had a free and open discussion on some of the proud tradition we have in Britain of providing sanctuary to those in need since the British Government signed up to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees [Article 1A] which was first Drafted by British lawyers as a response to the millions displaced by WWII.Famous refugees over the years have included:
Freddie Mercury – Queen late great front man whose family fled the massacre of Indians inZanzibar with his family.
Peter Andre – whose parents were from an ethnically cleansed area of Cyprus.Other famous refugees can be found at :http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/Info-Centre/Famous-Refugees
For me prsonally a really helpful learning tool handed out at the session was the pocket booklet : Mobiles,Money & Mayhem. The Facts & Fibs About Asylum , [available free to download from Refugee Action at : http://www.refugee-action.org.uk/RAP/MMMbooklet.aspx ].
The fact that one of the chief reasons people applied for asylum in theUKwas our long-standing British Parliamentary & democratic traditions of Free Speech, the Rule of Law and Democratic Governments appeared to me to be something we could and should all feel immensely proud of.
Anyone interested the New Shamwari Project in Rochdale can visit their web site at: