We had a great refugee week in Derby and started off with a public event in the City Centre. A group of “Bosnian Pearls” entertained crowds with traditional dances in the Cornmarket, while we handed out balloons to children and 500 myth-buster leaflets to shoppers passing by.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina Centre is the location for Derby Refugee Advice Centre, and also hosted an exhibition for part of the week, showing traditional crafts and some of the photos of the war from which the Bosnians had fled. Members of the public and other refugee friends came to see it.
Derby Museum and Art gallery arranged a special welcome tour for the refugee and asylum seeker community and showed them some of our city’s treasures
The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Derby and Derbyshire during Refugee Week, and was able to see some of our ongoing work with sanctuary seekers in the City. As part of this he went to a refugee drop-in centre in the city and talked with volunteers and clients.
The Derby Quad cinema put on two inspiring films, “Home” and the documentary “A Syrian Love Story” – if you haven’t seen it yet look out for it. It’s a poignant story which follows the lives of a Syrian family from their initial happy life in Syria through their exile and the stresses they faced. A hard one to watch but very worthwhile.
Towards the end of the week there was an event in the Maypole Café, bar and theatre in the City – M shared his moving story of fleeing from Syria (also published in the Derby Telegraph), but there was also music, dancing and poetry to welcome refugees and celebrate their contribution to our city.
The week ended with a tour of Derby Cathedral with the Dean and tea and cakes afterwards, thanks to the Cathedral Mothers Union. We were very fortunate to have the Deputy Mayor of Derby with us, and also Inderjit Bhogal (pictured) – co-founder of the first City of Sanctuary in Sheffield and former president of the Methodist Conference, who preached at the evening service which was themed around Refugee Week.