Wednesday, May 11, 2011
STAR - Student Action for Refugees - Kensington Community Clean Up Day
The first I heard of it came in an email from Seena Karimi in April, where she said
One of our main projects is hosting a weekly conversation class in Asylum Link, which gives Asylum seekers a voice, and aims to improve their ability of spoken English. I believe this has become a project beyond what it set out to be, and we have developed one of the most unique and hopeful relationships in Liverpool. We have made an isolated, often outcast group of people feel wanted and bestowed them with the gift of friendship and unity. One of the people we have influenced, Suren, an asylum seeker from Sri Lanka, has even become inspired to give something back to the community. This idea was his inspiration, and we hope to host many projects together in the future."
I kept in touch with her and after the event she sent me the following information
On one sunny Friday afternoon, asylum seekers and students alike, were on a mission: to clean up the streets of Kensington! This ambitious venture was undertaken by two groups of dissimilar people, Asylum seekers from Asylum Link Merseyside and students from the University of Liverpool. But there is no doubt we all shared the same hopes and dreams that day.
We also learnt a lot more than picking up rubbish that day, and one of our most important lessons was the benefits of teamwork and unity. Whenever our group scattered, we could achieve so little on our own, but when we walked together in one large group, we were able to renovate the bleakest backstreet in one great sweep. Our final challenge was giving the outside of Asylum Link itself a makeover, and by working together as a team it took us less than ten minutes to clean up almost two years worth of rubbish.
I really want to highlight the significance of this project, and what it represents for the future of our city. In a city often criticized for its racial tensions, we are evidently disproving this stereotype, Being possibly the most diverse range of people in Liverpool, black/white, rich/poor, young/old we all share the same aspirations for our community, and can unite as one people. It is a sign of hope, unity and change.
I hope you will agree with me that this is a wonderful story and everyone, students, refugees and asylum seekers alike, are to be congratulated for their great efforts, personally I hope to be available for the next event, for surely there will be another one, it sounds too good to miss!
Photos have been supplied by Seena