Refugee Week: True life experiences from Light up Black and African Heritage

This year’s Refugee Week theme was Healing. Light Up Black and African Heritage gave us the privilege to hear from two people who had arrived here as refugees.
The thoughts expressed in this article do not necessarily express the views of North Halifax Partnership.

How strong do you like your tea?

They say, people are like tea: You don’t know how strong they are, until you put them in boiling water.

Strength may not be your first thought when it comes to a refugee.

You might think of a downtrodden person, glancing furtively as they cling to whatever they are able to carry. In many cases this is accurate and still it only scratches the surface.

“ Imagine you were given just one hour to pack your entire life in a backpack. What do you take, what do you leave behind? “

These are, not verbatim, the words of Anne Frank, a refugee in her own hometown.

Imagine, having to do exactly that.

My limited experience of being an immigrant (and later a kind of refugee) but mostly my imagination, tried to concoct what it is like being a refugee.

Leaving the life you know behind. The hopelessness of being unable to protect that life, your home, oftentimes your family, children, grandparents, your own self. How about your pets? That patch of garden you tended, where you picked fruit, the corner where you had your first kiss, that café you so loved to go to but put off because you were too busy and now you cannot ever again, your favourite clothes, picture albums, everything, Everything that makes… You.

And then, arriving in a place you have never seen, where you may not speak the language, you don’t know the ways, you don’t even recognise the looks of the faces, everyone dresses and acts differently, you are misunderstood and unwanted.

Despite all this, there is no way back because there’s nothing to go back to or what’s behind is death and worse than.

They say, the wildest imagination pales before the reality of life. So I had to hear it for myself from those who actually went through it.

I have been asked not to reveal the names or to retell their stories, so I shall honour this.

All I will say is that to talk to these people, you’d think they never had a cloudy day. To see them, they are a picture of serenity, even when they speak of tales that freeze me to the spot. To hear what they had to go through so they can stand there, a smile on their face is overwhelmingly humbling.

Nobody leaves their home without good reason, without the hope of a better life, a safe, dignified life where respect is taken for granted.

Fear may displace any of us at any point of our lives. During refugee week, it may be good to remember that.

It may be worth to spare some time to remember that right now, so very close to us, the Ukraine, a country not so much different to ours is torn apart by war, its citizens displaced. Further still, in North Korea, Yemen, in many Third World countries, a term I use reluctantly and with great shame, right now people choose to flee, clinging on slivers of Hope.

Let’s learn that from Refugee Week if nothing else.

Each of us can look into their family’s history to find that an ancestor of theirs had at some point migrated. In a way, We are all refugees. All Different. All the same.

At some point or another in our family’s history someone had to migrate, looking for something better for their children, us. That though we look, speak and dress differently, we all welcome a casual greeting, a bit of chitchat, a “how are you?”

A little bit of normal life. And perhaps a cup of tea.

Not too strong for me, thank you.

Stirring words were shared. Thank you for sharing with us.



Refugee Week 2022 : Halifax Friendly vs St Augustine’s 0-1

The much anticipated match between Halifax Friendly and St Augustine’s to kick off Refugee Week 2022 ended with a victory over penalty shoot for St. Augustine’s.

There was a good turnout of attendees and there even was a drone filming the match! Emotions ran high both for the players and the support. We saw intense action, passionate play and impressive commitment to the match from both sides!

Though the day was hot, some clouds made it cooler and a breeze helped a little but the game was sizzling!

Halifax Friendly started strong leading the first half with 3-1 but St. Augustine’s stepped up their game in the second half term.

Halifax Friendly FC huddled together to discuss strategy

The game finished 3-3 after 90mins and St Augustine’s won the penalty shoot out 4-3 😊

The winners, St. Augustine’s team

Congratulations to both teams who played their heart out.

We caught up with our very own Dan Marham who played for Halifax Friendly for a brief commentary.

Dan said “It turned out to be a really good event. We lost at the penalty shoot out in the end but it doesn’t matter for such a good cause.”

And we can’t help but agree! Congratulations to St Augustine’s team for their victory and to Halifax Friendly for being such great challengers.

Thank you to both teams for reminding us all that we are one and the same.




Halifax Friendly on the match with St. Augustine’s

Refugee Week 20-26 June 2022 : Events Near You

This Year’s Refugee Week theme is Healing.


Please take a look at the following Refugee Week events happening near you. There are all week long events, online events and localised events to take place.

Full List of Refugee Week 2022 events

Local Refugee Week events

  • Friday June 17th: Football Match at Beech Hill
    Come see St Augustine’s team go head to head with Halifax Friendly to… kick off Refugee Week!!
  • Monday June 20th
    Refugee Week Launch: Online
    Join on Zoom:
  • Tuesday 21 June, 12 noon – 1 pm
    Story About Africa Refugees
    St. Augustine’s Centre, Halifax
    Light Up BAHC invite you to hear stories and learn about issues facing refugees from Africa.
  • Thursday June 23, 11am – 2pm
  • St. Augustine’s Open Day
    St. Augustine’s Centre, Halifax
    Come and find out more about what St. Augustine’s do and enjoy delicious food from around the world!


Stand and Be Counted – A refugee week Here I Am performance

Here I Am is a collaboration between Artworks, Northern Broadsides and SBC Theatre, and offers a series of creative projects happening across June to celebrate community spirit across Calderdale: proudly a Valley of Sanctuary.

Join SBC Theatre at 2pm on Saturday 20th June live on Zoom to celebrate connectivity, community and culture in this short, playful performance suitable for all ages. Email for access to the Zoom link.



While you’re there, check out the other Here I Am related online events to celebrate Refugee Week.

Dance Your Socks Off to Start Refugee Week!

To start off Refugees Week 19 – 25 June St Augustine’s have organised a ‘Dance Your Socks Off’  kind of evening on Friday 16 June 19:30 – 23:00 at Pellon Social Club, Moor End Road, Halifax.

The fantastic Peace Works band will be playing at this Ceilidh in aid of St Augustine’s Centre! There will be food, a raffle, stalls as well as dancing and an all round fantastic atmosphere!
£8.00 adults, £5.00 concessions and £15.00 for families.

Tickets available on the door or from St Augustine’s by telephoning 01422 352492.

This event will kick start Refugee Week celebrations and will form part of The Great Get Together (More In Common)

Refugee Week Calderdale: ArteLibre

Refugee Week Calderdale are launching a new creative arts programme called ‘ArteLibre’ and they are looking for people from the HX1 area and refugees in Calderdale to take part.

ArteLibre is a set of four, six week, FREE art workshops exploring the subject of Freedom through a series of exciting and challenging experimental art practices such as drawing, painting, photography and other forms of art.

Starting Friday 18 September 2015 from 1pm to 3pm at the Artworks and will continue every Friday until June 2016.

They are looking for people with a genuine interest in art, and a willingness to participate in all the workshops with an open and creative mind.

For an application form to register your interest please email or call Kate on 01422 399520.

Celebrate Refugee Week at St Augustines Centre

refugee weekRefugee week Calderdale would like to invite all friends, old and new, to St. Augustine’s Centre for an evening of music and food to share on Wednesday 17 June from 6pm to 8.30pm.

Refreshments will be provided and everyone is welcome to attend.

Click here for further information on refugee week and how you can get involved.