To mark UNHCR Refugee Week on (14th - 21st June 2021), the Headmaster spoke in assembly about the challenge the World faces regarding Amnesty International’s estimate of 26m refugees. He shared a video - Dear Habib, outlining the experiences of a young refugee from Afghanistan waiting for leave to remain in the UK and shared the sad story of a Kurdish family of five who died crossing the Channel last summer.

The Headmaster suggested that pupils should try to imagine how desperate a family must be to put themselves in the hands of people smugglers and risk their lives to travel to an unknown destination. He also mentioned an Old Chigwellian, Jodie Spencer, who left Chigwell, studied history at Oxford University and now works with organisations who support refugees. Jodie is now Location Director at Action for Education and she has offered to come to Chigwell to speak about her work. She wrote:

"We always get told how lucky we are to receive a great education, to have a home to go back to, and to live in a safe place. What we often don’t appreciate is how much that enables us to give and how much it allows us to shine. I choose to work on the “frontline of Europe” not because of my grades or my degrees, but because coming from such a nurturing background - both at home and at school - gave me the strength and spirit to support young asylum seekers so far from their homes - not just with their education, but to show them they’re human - with a smile, by listening to them and by empowering them. Each of us have the ability to make a difference far more than we may believe."

We look forward to welcoming Jodie back soon.

About Refugee Week

"Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June, Refugee Week is also a growing global movement. Refugee Week’s vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution."

Read more about Refugee Week 2021

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