This week (June 14-20) is being celebrated as Refugee Week across the country and a range of activities are being scheduled to celebrate the event.
Students from Warwick have however been engaged in their own on-going project to raise awareness and understanding of refugee issues, which has been making a positive impact on the lives of refugees in Coventry.
The project, Jigsaw is a one of a kind youth program created by Warwick Volunteer students in association with the Coventry Refugee Centre to help facilitate the integration of teenage refugees in the local community.
It allows young refugees aged 11 through to 18 the chance to socialise, celebrate their culture and develop life skills through activities such as basketball, creative writing, kite making and a host of others. This helps them to develop teamwork skills, build self-confidence and to broaden their horizons.
In addition to providing activities, Jigsaw also arranges for the teenagers to interact with people of their own age group and other individuals to whom they can relate their experiences.
According to Warwick student Lucy Strike, who is also co-ordinator for the project,
“Jigsaw involves refugees from diverse countries, including Palestine, Albania and war-torn Somalia. The mix of sports, crafts and entertainment caters for a wide range of different interests. The project is very rewarding as it enables students to contribute to the local community and get experiences of working with youths as well as an awareness of refugee issues.
The students look after the children throughout visits, picking them up and taking them home. It fills a gap for the students as well as the children as many of them would not normally come in contact with asylum seekers or refugees”.
To find out more about Jigsaw and other Warwick Volunteer projects visit http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/projects/young/jigsaw/