Welcoming Refugees: Celony’s Story

6 March 2018

The statement “Because we can” became a reality to me, when last year the opportunity arose to join the Refugee Response team and provide support for a Syrian refugee family resettling in my neighbourhood in London.

The Refugee Response Team was started in 2015 at what was then the height of the refugee crisis in Europe, we now know it was simply the beginning of it. Over the years the response has changed in appearance, but the heart has remained the same. Now we have a partnership with the Home Office and are a ‘Community Sponsor,’ which allows us to help resettle Syrian Refugee families. The families go through a process with the British Government and the UNHCR to be matched with us and then from there, we begin a process to bring them to London and help them to integrate into society. I have had the immense privilege to help refugee families integrate into our local community. Serving with our Refugee Response team was a new experience for me, as I had previously worked with children and families in an educational context, whereas this was all about social integration into a new society.  We support families to set up their house, learn English, understand daily life tasks like taking the Tube (Underground Train), going to the grocery store, and any other daily needs.  I realised I needed to approach my role with an open mind and open heart.

In seeking to support the family to settle in the UK, I was also impacted personally. Through weekly visits and introducing them to different aspects of British culture, I have developed friendships, learnt about a different culture, and recognised commonalities that we share. Most importantly, this experience reaffirms that irrespective of our backgrounds we all have the same basic needs, and in order to make a change in the lives of others it is not always dependent on the big things!

– Celony, London

The seemingly small, everyday actions are taken to make a difference for children, sisters, or nations are significant! The Colour Sisterhood is a movement of everyday women choosing to #bethechange as an individual or a group, in local and global communities.

Explore other examples of how women have responded at www.coloursisterhood.com

Reflect. Respond. Rally. #iamsisterhood @coloursisterhood