Sanctuary in the Senedd

“Sanctuary in the Senedd” – an annual event which aims to bring attention to the voices of people who have found sanctuary in Wales about their experiences of education, employment, and mental health, took place on Wednesday, July 13.

      The subject of the event was wellbeing and health of people who made Wales their Sanctuary home.

       Imagine having to grab your family and run, leaving everything you know and love behind to try to find a safe place and the chance of a new life. Such is the plight of more than 100 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to persecution, war, conflict, violence or human rights violations. Refugees, currently based in Wales, shared their unique stories of rescue and how they rebuilt their lives in Wales. Every story told was inspiring and impressive.

       For example, Larysa talked about emotions and feelings of an asylum seeker by explaining how trauma, uncertainty, living in limbo, fear and (forced) poverty affect he way we think and see our life. She suggested that providing extra funds and facilitating access to education is the panacea, because it gives hope, happiness and a reason to get up and put on clothes to do something good during the day. But she said that it takes time for the bad feelings to go away – in any challenge all uncertainty and mental health problems can quickly show up.

       In general, every speaker and every participant of the event shared unique and important thoughts.

You can watch the video recording of the event here.

      People across Wales continue to provide a warm welcome within their communities for those fleeing violence, persecution and war. National and local government in Wales provide integration support and enable access to services such as health, social care and education. Welsh communities have responded to the ‘refugee crisis’ by opening their hearts and homes to new friends and neighbours, by offering a warm Welsh welcome and setting up co-ordinated support through groups and places of sanctuary. This is incredible support that saves entire generations of families.

This article was written by Anastasiia Haievska.