A feeling of helplessness …

A feeling of helplessness …

Jake Convery was part of the group from CTBI who visited Mediterranean Hope refugee projects in Lampedusa and Sicily in April. He blogged this morning in reaction to recent media stories about the flooding in Houston and the migrant crisis.

I’ve seen some articles recently about the displacement of peoples in Houston due to the severe weather conditions and I’ve seen some articles about the displacement of people in Europe as part of the migrant crisis. The hardest part, though, of what I’ve seen in recent weeks and days has been working through what I’ve been feeling and trying to identify what it is.

Then this evening I realised, it’s helplessness. It’s a feeling of wanting to be able to help, to respond appropriately and effectively and not being able to do so. This feeling is awful.

It almost feels as if the visit I was involved with in April to Sicily and Lampedusa happened in a bubble in time, a place where I was able to think purely about the situation in Europe and about the people. Now that we have had time to take a step back and to see what is happening it becomes increasingly apparent that the government in the UK is not pulling it’s weight like the rest of Europe is.

In his blog post, Jake wishes “that there was more that could be in Britain to help those fleeing harm in foreign countries” but feels that “media coverage is severely biased and therefore [people] who could actually make a difference, aren’t reacting positively and with a helpful frame of mind”.

What can local communities do?

Are we offering a drop in service for refugees or asylum seekers? Are we offering language courses, food parcels or asylum advice? Are we sponsoring families to settle in the UK? There are also a whole host of other things that we can do at a local level to encourage growing relations with different communities. Are we calling on our local councils to support our efforts and to help extend a warm welcome?

Jake’s conclusion?

At a national level, we need to call on government and faith leaders to make a commitment to changing how we respond. Something practical, something worthwhile and something that will have a lasting effect.

You can read his full article on his blog.

If your community is actively helping refugees and people seeking asylum, please get in touch with Focus on Refugees: we’d love to feature your story and encourage others to take action.