Category Personal Stories

Pictures of Home

Every winter, my adopted hometown Dunedin holds a twenty-four-hour book sale to raise money for our century-old performing arts theatre. This event has long been a favourite on my calendar, not least for the occasional eighteenth- or nineteenth-century books I find among the hordes of Stephen Kings and Enid Blytons. I imagine these old books […]

Lives interrupted: impossible choices for Afghans in Greece

We saw the mob move towards us in the dimly lit night: twenty agitated men clutching sticks and stones. I grabbed Afsana’s hand and pulled her forwards, running down the railway track towards the police hut. We found the police watching TV. I pleaded for protection, willing them to accompany us to the tent where […]

The Forgotten Soldiers of Lesvos

By Shala Gafary The Trump supporters were right — militants are among the refugees arriving in Europe. Men who know how shoot a gun, kill their enemy, and pluck an aircraft of the sky. They are fanatic in their beliefs and relentless in their objectives. Our land is ours and we are willing to give up our […]

A letter to my brothers: our ancestors defied borders, and so must we

For my brothers, who know our family, but few of our stories. Dear boys, We are neither refugees nor their children. We are their grandchildren. The first time I learned the proper noun, the verb ‘Partition’, I was five. Dad nestled a plate of sliced apples between us on the couch and allowed me to […]

A shout out to men of fighting age

‘They’re men of fighting age!’ scream the headlines, conjuring up images of threatening brutes. Aggressive rhetoric and hyperbole have coloured the migration debate in the UK throughout 2016, targeting young, male refugees in particular. British MP David Davies claims refugees are not ‘averse to lying about their ages’, and should undergo dental checks, sparking a […]

Walking the walk: tracing one woman’s steps into advocating for immigration reform

My parents met Kristen and her husband through their church in suburban Seattle. The four of them have become close friends over the years – sharing Bible study discussions, attending baby showers for each other’s now-adult children, going on architecture tours in Seattle. On her Facebook profile, Kristen describes herself: “Wife, mom, grandma.” Recently, I […]

Insights from Calais: The Hungry Road

People around the world were propelled into action at the sight of little Alan Kurdi’s body lying alone on the sand. The tragedy of displacement is often communicated by images of bodies on beaches and packed sinking boats. But if Alan Kurdi had been alive to tell his story, if he had arrived on that […]

You Make a Decision and You Start Your Journey

by Iddrisu Wari Founder of CEHDA This blog post is composed of excerpts from a chapter of the same title in the book Understanding Migrant Decisions, edited by Belachew Gebrewold and Tendayi Bloom, Routledge 2016. Potential migrants in Sub-Saharan countries often do not know much about the situation in Europe. For them, they cannot imagine that […]

A warning from an Australian: do not let your immigration detention centres out of sight

I’ve been living on Lesbos since November. As a volunteer, and then as an NGO employee, I moved freely in and out of temporary accommodation sites for refugees (otherwise known as refugee camps) doing my daily work. When the EU-Turkey deal came into force and the EU started deporting newcomers to Turkey, the camps on […]

The EU-Turkey Deal and its Nightmarish Face

By Minem Marouf Dear Friends, this is a call for help. I have been on Lesvos with #HumanityCrew leading a wonderful team of Palestinian volunteers providing psychosocial support among other assistance to refugees arriving to the island by what could only be called ‘the death trip’ from the shores of Turkey. As it is, there […]