Plight of refugees debated by expert speakers facing the crises

Bread and Roses event in Thame Ali5K104KeGr_gO2a_zs
Bread and Roses event in Thame Ali5K104KeGr_gO2a_zs

The plight of refugees across the world was debated when people with direct experience joined a debate in Thame.

An audience of 85 people gathered for the Bread and Roses for Refugees event, Refugee Voices: Stories From Beyond The Headlines, held at John Hampden Primary School on Saturday, October 21.

There was stimulating debate about what the UK’s role should be in prevention and response to humanitarian crises.

Henley MP John Howell shared the current government strategy and emphasised the importance of maintaining the overseas aid budget to tackle some root causes of global conflict.

Other speakers included Dr Krish Kandiah, founding director of Home For Good, Abeer Al-Multawakel, academic researcher at the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, David Bailey, Oxfordshire Refugee Solidarity, Dr Ann Lorek, paediatrician and expert in child refugee health.

The audience heard about direct experiences of working with refugees in Greece, France, Lebanon and the UK, highlighting the complexity of the challenges.

The event also offered the opportunity to consider how the public could contribute, from taking aid supplies to Calais over a weekend, to welcoming an unaccompanied young asylum seeker into one’s family as a foster carer.

Flying Seagulls described the importance for wellbeing and development, allowing children in camps the chance to play and laugh together. A chaired Q&A session was held afterwards.

A total of £850 was raised for charities working with refugees nominated by the speakers. One of the organisers said: “What an amazing evening. A huge thank you to our six brilliant speakers, and a big thank you for all of you who came and supported this very special event and donated to all those great charities. Thank you Thame and surrounding areas.

Founded in February 2016, Bread and Roses for Refugees aim to bring together the people of Thame to support charities and organisations which meet the practical needs of refugees. The Bread is food, warmth, clothing, medical needs and homes and to support charities and organisations which meet other essential human needs of refugees. The Roses is play, fun, community, art and beauty.

New members are welcome through the Facebook page Bread and Roses Thame.