June 20, 2023

World Refugee Day 2023

Today, 20th June 2023, is World Refugee Day.

It is an occasion where people come together to celebrate the courage and strength of those individuals who have been forced to leave their country – often to escape war, persecution or natural disaster – in search of safety.

Among one of the most diverse cities in the country, Leicester is home to well over 1000 refugees and asylum seekers, from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

One of the key aims of Lionheart Educational Trust is inclusivity and the belief that every child – irrespective of race, religion, starting point or background – deserves an equal chance of an equal education.

Therefore, it is pivotal that days like World Refugee Day are highlighted and the importance of diversity and inclusion is promoted.

Ms Mee, a Modern Foreign Languages teacher at Lionheart’s Humphrey Perkins School in Barrow-upon-Soar, has helped to set-up an organisation called Open Arms Kegworth which aims to support asylum seekers and refugees; ensuring they are safe, happy and healthy.

Supporting individuals from an array of countries – including Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, Syria and Sudan - they distribute essential items, host English lessons and social activities – including a recent football tournament which was featured on Channel 4 News - thus ensuring the individuals feel valued and welcomed within the community.

To highlight the importance of the selfless work she and her fellow volunteers do, Ms Mee recorded an assembly to mark World Refugee Day, educating Humphrey Perkins’ students about the issues many refugees and asylum seekers face.

“I think its massively important that young people are educated on these issues because there are so many myths going around,” she said, stressing how important it was to challenge stereotypes.

“Young people need to know the facts rather than what they hear about online or in the media.”

Additionally, on Wednesday 21st June, several year nine students will have the opportunity to meet three asylum seekers in person and ask them questions about their experiences. It is hoped that this will promote a greater understanding of the issues many of these individuals face.