Appeal for support for refugees
Refugees at home and abroad are the focus of an appeal in Refugee Week for the Church in Wales’ Centenary Fund.
The Fund, set up to mark the Church’s centenary last year, supports two projects which help refugees – one, run by Christian Aid, in South Sudan to help build peace in communities ripped apart by years of war, and the other in Wales, run by Housing Justice Cymru, to help homeless and vulnerable people in Wales secure tenancies.
The Fund aims to raise at least £100,000 for the two charities by 2025.
The Bishop of Bangor, Andy John, who is the Church’s senior bishop, is urging people to support the Fund and pray for the work of the two projects to mark Refugee Week.
He says, “For me, visiting the ‘Jungle’ in Calais in 2016 was both a disturbing and a surreal experience. Surreal because holiday-makers from the UK were literally passing by a camp overflowing with desperate people living in squalid conditions, many of whom had fled their homes to save their lives. Disturbing because as people passed by over the months, they grew immune to the situation – it became normal. The Jungle has been disbanded, or dispersed, and as we are no longer seeing reports of boatloads of people trying to get to the UK, there is an unfortunate tendency to think that the refugee crisis is ‘solved’.
“The latest UNHCR statistics show, however, that the crisis is worsening, with the number of refugees worldwide surpassing 80 million at the middle of last year, a situation further exacerbated by the Covid pandemic and aid cuts. These are people who desperately need our support.
“Our Centenary Fund is supporting vital peace-building work in South Sudan which will help stem the flow of refugees leaving the country. It is also supporting refugees in Wales who are struggling with homelessness. The Fund is one way in which we can walk alongside our brothers and sisters, near and far, who are in such great need. I urge you to donate what you can and also to pray for all who have been displaced from their homes, as we mark Refugee Week.”
Violent conflict in South Sudan and the continuing pandemic have forced people from their homes and many are now living in church compounds for safety.
James Wani, country director of Christian Aid in South Sudan, says, “The situation is dire and is compounded by the pandemic. Those who are displaced from their homes lack the basics of life such as shelter, food, water and medicine. There is poor access to water and soap to practice COVID preventive measures, and social distancing is almost impossible. Christian Aid partners are working alongside churches on the ground to provide support for those displaced and affected by violence, with food and shelter and psychosocial support. We appeal for your ongoing support for this appeal to enable us to respond in these challenging circumstances. Support is vital to realise dignity, equality and justice for people living the reality of extreme poverty in South Sudan where conflict is exacerbating poverty and the humanitarian crisis.”
Refugees who have fled to Wales are supported by Housing Justice Cymru which is expanding its services for them.
HJC director, Bonnie Navarra, says, “Until people receive refugee status life can be extremely difficult, as they are unable to work or access benefits and can become destitute.
“This year we will begin a Wales-wide project to improve and expand accommodation and support services for people seeking sanctuary. We will develop new partnership opportunities with refugee and homelessness organisations, improving existing provision and working together to provide a cohesive, joined-up approach to prevent destitution and homelessness in Wales.
“We will also be starting a hosting scheme based on one already run successfully in London. You can learn more about this in the The Housing Project film, link below."
To donate to our Centenary Fund please complete the Donation Form*Donation Form
*If you are making a personal donation and are a UK tax payer, please complete the Gift Aid Declaration (PDF) and email it to: email@example.com