My name is Abby, I attended Stalham High School, and have lived in Stalham for 10 years now.
Probably all of you have followed the migrant crisis, even if you didn't choose to, it’s unavoidable on the news and radio everyday! I, like most of you, found it shocking, and the numbers bewildering, but it didn't affect the rest of my day.
England is historically a Christian nation, yet currently are we trying to preserve our 'Christian culture' by acting un-Christian in this crisis? Except one time, I was listening to the radio, and I heard an interview with a Syrian doctor.
I was expecting the usual flat and hopeless report of bombings, so was taken aback by the passion in his voice. He spoke angrily 'Why are you not doing more?' he asked.
It was then that I realised that each of us have a responsibility of compassion - that one day someone will ask us what we did to help. England is historically a Christian nation, yet currently are we trying to preserve our 'Christian culture' by acting un-Christian in this crisis?
I am currently doing a discipleship training school (DTS) with a Christian organisation YWAM. The DTS has a refugee focus, so we have been working with refugees for the full 6 months. For the first 3 months we volunteered in Greece, at Moria refugee camp, doing very basic work of distributing clothes, tents and food.
Conditions in Moria were very poor, because originally it only served as an overnight stop before being moved on- however now, due to the huge number of people coming and a new migration policy that has tightened borders, those in Moria will be there for at least 6 months before being processed for asylum or deportation.
It’s frustrating for many who have gone through so much for the dream of freedom, yet they are still trapped, unable to go home or move forward.
Even after leaving, I still remember and am struck by how incredibly resilient and gracious they were. I’m certain I would not be like that after sleeping in a thin wet tent for a week, let alone six months.
Now we are travelling in Turkey, volunteering at different existing refugee projects.
The opportunities to be involved are very varied: we spent 3 weeks running art classes at a school for Syrian children, all from Aleppo; 1 week doing conversation English classes with Syrian college students; and are currently working with Syrian women, training them in business skills so they can be financially self- sufficient after losing husbands in the war.
Most of the refugees we have met hope to go back to their homes once the problems are over.
As for me, I feel very fortunate to be coming home to Stalham, and I hope they will soon be able to return to where they call home.