The Refugee Council’s Children’s Section runs educational classes and social activities for children who have arrived in the UK by themselves in search of safety. Here, Sabrin, a young refugee from Eritrea, blogs about her experience of being one of the Young Leaders on our Youth Development Project, and participating in a very special summer trip to Somerset.
My name is Sabrin and I’m from a small country in East Africa called Eritrea and I arrived in the UK in 2014. After a couple of months in this country, I came to the Refugee Council which later became like my second home.
Since then I’ve gone from a shy young girl attending educational and psychosocial activities to becoming a confident young woman who is now one of the young leaders in the Youth Development Project – a role which I recently started to help other newly arrived children and young people integrate into the Refugee Council’s Youth Project, but also the wider community.
In my time here at the Refugee Council, I’ve had opportunities to enjoy many enriching activities including: social nights, English and Maths classes, music session and concerts, outings to museums and theatres, residential trips to countryside, parties celebrating diversity, workshops on integration, arts and crafts, vocational training and public speaking; all of which have been organised by the Youth Project.
These are all fun and learning activities which have given me confidence. I’m truly lucky that I’ve been able to access such a unique service that has developed me as a person.
My decision to join the Young Leaders group was to make sure other young people can have a positive experience.
A few remarkable things I’ve been able to do as a Young Leader include helping the Project recruit volunteers as part of Young People’s Interviewing panel, visiting the House of Lords and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England.
The experience has boosted my confidence and as a result, I am able to give my opinion representing the voices of other young people on how to improve the services given to new lone child refugees arriving in the UK.
Every year, the Refugee Council organises a summer trip which gives us a safe place to socialise and an opportunity to learn but this summer’s trip to a farm in Somerset was so different for so many reasons.
During the summer, lots of people in the UK go on holiday but it is not so easy for us girls who don’t have families in the UK. However, the Refugee Council had planned a special residential trip for us and everyone was looking forward to it.
We were 11 excited girls accompanied by two members of staff from the Refugee Council who offered us some hot chocolate before boarding our coach to Somerset. While travelling to Somerset we could not stop giggling about how most of us had no sleep the night before due to excitement.
We stayed at the farm for four days, taking part in lots of fun and educational activities including walking the goats, feeding the pigs, collecting the chickens’ eggs, watering the plants and developing a deep understanding of the natural environment and farming techniques.
It was the best trip and I spent the most amazing time with other girls at Magdalen Farm. It was special because I made lots of friends that became very close to me in a short time; we shared lots of quality time together that made our bond very strong. We played, danced and cried from laughter at the same time.
It was an incredible moment when we all went to the river to catch some creatures and we all ended up playing in the water. If you asked the other girls what their favourite moment was; they’d either say the water fight in the river or walking the goats. I will not forget other fun moments such as making jokes, sharing different stories and enjoying the bonfire evening all of which made our trip more memorable.
Girls need a safe space because sometimes for some girls it’s overwhelming being somewhere where the group is predominately made up of boys. I appreciate that the Youth Project gave us the opportunity to go away and spend time bonding; but I am so happy that we also have a girls group session every Tuesday at the Refugee Council.
I’d like to say thank you to the Refugee Council especially the staff – Joe and Greta – for giving us a summer to cherish. Can we have more of these trips please?!