A compassionate culture

I am British, I was born here and I have no intention of leaving here, so I want to create a society here where compassion is built into our culture, in this society we will be so aware of the world around us that we will not need a Refugee Week. Until then this is how we do it.� Benjamin Zephaniah, Poet

How does Edinburgh do it? Between 18 and 24 June Scotland’s capital joins the rest of the UK in organising events for Refugee Week. A programme of arts, cultural and educational events are planned to celebrate the contribution refugees make to the UK. At the same time the events hope to encourage a better understanding between communities (the Refugee Week website has an interesting blog presenting many different views. You can add yours here too).

Perhaps the simplest and best way to increase understanding is to share a meal together as Leith Open Space members and supporters discovered last year: the most successful part of our multicultural discussion day was the lunch break when we all enjoyed tasting different delicious foods contributed by people from many different ethnic communities in Leith.

Food, music and story telling are among sharing activities organised by Edinburgh Refugee Centre at St. George’s West Church in Shandwick Place. You can have your face painted or your photograph taken (for free). But there is also an opportunity to learn what it is like to be an asylum seeker or refugee.

Here are some highlights of Refugee Week. For more information contact Edinburgh Refugee Centre manager, Rosie Robertson: rosie@cyrenians.org.uk

Thursday 21 June
10-12.30pm
Information and Advice Session
St George’s West Church, Shandwick Place

An informal session to learn about the asylum process, rights and entitlements of refugees and asylum seekers, and working effectively with refugees and asylum seekers.
To check if places are still available email: rosie@cyrenians.org.uk.

Thursday 21 June
7-10pm

A Celebration of Cultures and Languages
St George’s West Church, Shandwick Place

Visit stalls representing different countries and cultures: sample their food, hear their stories, read their language – and make new friends!
Entertainment includes: Malawian band Moyenda, The Men from Sudan
and face-painting and henna painting.
All welcome – free entry (donations accepted)

Thursday 28th June
2-4 pm
Photography Project
St George’s West Church, Shandwick Place
Photographer Marianne Barr would like to take pictures of people from different countries. You can have your photo taken wherever you want: in your home, at your college, at the Refugee Centre or with your family. You will get a high quality print to keep.

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