Separated child Gulwali Passarlay, who fled Afghanistan aged 12, was chosen to carry Olympic Torch in Bolton, now aged 17.

PROJECTSPROJECTS

ARRIVAL PACKS

When separated children and young people arrive in Britain, it is almost always at the end of a difficult, demanding, dirty and often dangerous journey, and they lack even the most basic necessities of life. An Arrival Pack is a duffle bag crammed full with toiletries and a towel, socks and underwear, warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, gloves, a hat and a scarf, and other essentials. Our Arrival Packs project is proving to be very effective: for the separated children and young people who have already received one from us, it has made a simple but important difference to their everyday life.

Our motto in producing Arrival Packs is 'Dignity in Donation'. Young asylum seekers have already had gruelling experiences on their journey and so we see our Arrival Packs as not only as providing the basics of everyday living but also as lifting their spirits, albeit in a limited way. Arrival Packs are assembled with care so that opening one is like receiving a gift-wrapped present

We distribute Arrival Packs through our partnership with the Refugee Council, local authorities, refugee organisations and providers of accommodation for unaccompanied minors. In 2015 there were 'more of them and more in them' than any year before and, by July 2017, we'd created and distributed almost 7500 Arrival Packs. More are on their way...

We're enormously grateful to our supporters who donate goods or the funds to buy items in bulk at good prices. The retail value of an Arrival Pack is in the region of £100 but, with the benefit of generous donations, careful shopping and volunteers giving freely of their time, we can produce an Arrival Pack for less than £30.

We very much appreciate the invaluable help we receive from The Big Yellow at Staples Corner, which kindly provides us with space to store the goods and to assemble Arrival Packs—and Sleep Packs...

SLEEP PACKS
Severely disturbed sleep and irregular 'body clocks' are among the effects of the journeys that separated children travel. For safety, they have travelled in groups at night and slept during the day, taking turns to guard. As a result, they become entirely nocturnal. Many also suffer from nightmares and are terrified on waking. On the advice of a psychotherapist, we create and distribute ‘Sleep Packs’ as part of the programme to help restore restful and refreshing sleep, with a regular sleep-wake rhythm. A Sleep Pack is a pouch that contains: a night shirt, a plug-in night light, a lavender bag, a specially created ‘Sweet Dreams’ card, an eye mask, ear plugs, tissues and a stress ball. Producing a Sleep Pack costs £10. By July 2017—after the first year of this project—we'd created and distributed almost 1400 Sleep Packs.

 

SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES

'Club Class' was launched in July 2010, as a cross between a club and a class: a weekly educational, social and cultural programme for up to 30 separated young people aged 14-18 that includes refreshments and supper, and pays the participants' travel expenses. Initially based in London NW8 and lasting from 4.30 to 7.30 pm once a week, it was run by three youth workers, experienced in engaging with young people who are refugees or seeking sanctuary. It had the support of a 'Separated Child' trustee, as well as volunteers. The facilities that New London Synagogue graciously offered free of charge - and was willing to do indefinitely - were perfectly suited to the Club Class programme but the location proved difficult for young people to reach after school. So...

In May 2011, Club Class moved to the Refugee Council headquarters Brixton (south London) where it could be extended to two sessions a week. We were delighted to be able to fund a full-time youth activities worker, to work with Egerton Gbonda - one of the original youth workers - and for a larger number of young people to be able to attend Club Class. In 2012, the Refugee Council 'decentralised' its offices and the Children's Section moved to a centre in Croydon, which continues to host Club Class every week.

Throughout the year, Club Class offers a range of activities to teach arts and life skills (including cooking), to help young refugees improve their English and to provide homework support. Over holiday periods, there are excursions that focus on getting to know and enjoy London; these have included a river cruise, boating and playing cricket in Regents Park, a trip to London Zoo and another to Madame Tussaud's.

For more information and to join 'Club Class' - or recommend a young person for it - please write to contact@separatedchild.org

Our funding of a youth activities worker at the Refugee Council makes a range of life-enriching events, programmes, short trips and residential experiences possible.

We're working towards extending this kind of provision to other places where there would be courses in language, sport, life skills and citizenship, as well as informal advice and counselling, and invaluable opportunities for company, meetings and friendship.

'THE ESTER CINEMA CLUB'

Ester Gluck raised funds for film and music equipment to be used in the youth club run by the Refugee Council at their national headquarters in south London. It has now been named in her memory. The Separated Child Foundation is pleased to support the club by funding the annual licence for showing films and is willing to fund similar clubs elsewhere.

GIVING SEPARATED CHILDREN A VOICE

Young refugees need to be able to communicate with each other and to make their views and voices known in wider society through projects that enable and empower them to tell their stories and to reflect on their experiences, needs and hopes. Channels for such communication include newsletters, art work, magazines and video diaries. This material provides a vivid record and a creative educational resource.

We hope in the future to engage in...

BEFRIENDING

This would involve adults 'adopting' (in the style of an aunt, uncle or godparent) separated young people over the age of 16, offering friendship and invitations for meals and outings.

SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION FOR THOSE AGED 16-18

Separated young people in this age group are often housed inappropriately in hostels or bed-and-breakfast, where they may be physically and emotionally vulnerable. Suitable housing is a desperate need.