Owen is currently studying International Development with Arabic at University. He has previous experience volunteering in Ghana, where he worked with communities on issues such as reproductive rights and early child marriage.

What made you join a Community Sponsorship group?

Before I joined Bermondsey Welcomes Refugees, I wasn’t aware of the work community sponsorship groups do to facilitate the resettlement of refugees - I thought it was more on big NGOs and government agencies to fulfil that process. So, when I heard through a colleague in my Arabic class at university about the project, I was interested in getting involved.

How do you feel about the refugee situation? And how much did you know about the situation before joining?

No matter what country you’re a citizen of you should be entitled to basic human rights such as having shelter and living without the fear of persecution. If you’re not afforded these things, then you should be able to seek a better life in a different country - I think that’s what we’re all trying to help achieve here, helping a family in search of a better life.

What is your background?  And how will you use your skills to progress the work of BERMONDSEY WELCOMES REFUGEES?

I’m currently in the final year of my undergraduate degree in International Development and Arabic. I think my Arabic language skills have been most useful at Bermondsey Welcomes Refugees; alongside my colleagues who also studied Arabic at university, I have been hosting basic Arabic lessons for non-Arabic speaking members of the group for them to be able to better communicate with the family when they arrive.

Has working with this group and learning more about the barriers rfugees have to overcome changed the way you think about anything?

Yes, most definitely - It’s been amazing to see the variety of people involved, the number of people involved, in what I may have thought was a more straightforward process. It’s a shame that there are so many hurdles in the resettlement process.

If you could tell people one thing about community sponsorship, what would it be?

There’s no one thing, to be honest with you - there’s a lot of great things happening in community sponsorship. It’s a great way to bring a whole range of people together, all of whom have different specialties, to achieve a common goal for good.

You can support us to resettle a refugee family and help them to build a new and sustainable life by donating to our Just Giving page