At Refugee Action, all our work is shaped by the experiences of refugees and people seeking asylum here in the UK. We stand alongside them to call for change.

SAM has become a vital part of the Refugee Action family in the last year.

“I have been living as an asylum seeker for the last seven years, after fleeing a forced marriage and domestic abuse in East Africa. I have lived with no means to provide for myself and with no right to work.

I have experienced homelessness, poverty and struggled with my mental health.

“I feel that the system has failed me. I never want anyone else to experience the hardships I faced. This is why I joined Refugee Action as an Expert by Experience.

“Everyone should have purpose. Everyone deserves to use their skills. But thousands of talented and skilled people seeking asylum are wasted away.

“Let’s celebrate their contributions to the community and the change your support has made possible.”

I Celebrate Us

Created to mark World Refugee Day 2020, ‘I Celebrate Us’ is a piece written, drawn, painted and spoken by SAM. Watch it here.

Our Coronavirus Response

Over the last few months of uncertainty, you have helped ensure our work continue and adapt. So far our Coronavirus Emergency Fund has provided more than 233 supermarket vouchers totalling £9,000 and more than 159 bank transfers totalling £10,000. We’ve also helped refugees and people seeking asylum with:

Laptops, tablets and smartphones to keep more than 70 families connected.

Smartphone data top-ups for more than 100 people seeking safety.

Translation services to keep people up to date with guidelines.

Access to our online health and wellbeing support services.

As lockdown restrictions begin to change, refugees and people seeking asylum still face a system where the scales are tipped against them.

Spotlight: the coronavirus
response project

Refugee Action also works to connect, inform and support frontline UK refugee and asylum organisations across the country. SAM had the opportunity to speak to Lora who is leading their Coronavirus Response project.

Forced to choose between
food and education

After fleeing war-torn Afghanistan Ahmad hoped to rebuild his life in the UK. But trying to survive on less than £6 a day during a pandemic pushed Ahmad into depression. He was forced to choose between food and his education.

Celebrating Bonheur’s commitment

Bonheur arrived in the UK in 2018 after fleeing ongoing conflict and war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has become a beacon of support during the pandemic.

As a Mental Health Support Worker Bonheur pushed aside concerns about his own health so that he could support those at risk.

He decided to juggle 12-hour shifts with his studies to become a GP.

“I couldn’t just stay at home because I was scared of the pandemic…I want to make a difference in the world. I just want to help people. I feel like my life matters when I can make a difference to people, to make them smile.

“I work with people who are going through tough situations or illnesses or stress, who hate their lives. They need someone to give them emotional and mental support.”