Guest blog – “We’re happy to host” A delegate’s view of NACCOM’s hosting convention 2019

Esther Bakari from Birmingham Community Hosting Network (BIRCH) shares her experience of our Happy To Host annual convention:

“Saturday 13th July saw the introduction of the ‘Happy to Host’ Convention organised by NACCOM.

“Taking place at Amnesty’s Human Rights Centre, in London, around 80 individuals from NACCOM’s hosting communities signed up to attend the conference. Gathering from all over the UK, those who took part in the event brought their different experiences and insights of participating in hosting. Whether they had experience hosting a vulnerable individual or were guests who had experience being supported by a host, or staff from organisations supporting hosting projects the event enabled like-minded discussion to be made and valuable networking.

“The convention began with a thoughtful panel discussion on what hosting is like. The panel consisted of two guests (Asadullah Kohistan and Betty Johnson) and two experienced hosts (Jane Henson and Carol Munro). The panel was hosted by the quick-witted Nico Ndlovu. A variety of workshop events were held throughout the day and delicious vegan lunch was provided by Won Tegegn and the Ethiopic Kitchen. I attended two workshop events, The global refugee situation hosted by London-based Senior External Relations Office from UNHCR Matthew Saltmarsh, and Self-care, Vicarious Trauma and boundaries by Psychologist and practising Psychotherapist, Mirjam Thullesen.

“Hilarious comedy entertainment was also organised after lunch by stand up comedians No Direction Home. As well as, an enthralling talk by Zrinka Bralo, from Migrants Organise on speaking out for change and taking leaps in life to make a difference. Zrinka also made light of the growing campaign, Patients Not Passports.

“Some information from the global refugee situation workshop (UNHCR):

  • Refugees and migrants have different rights…
  • An asylum seeker is someone seeking refugee status. There were around 3.5 million asylum applications pending at the end of 2018 (globally).
  • In 2018, 71 million people were forcibly displaced around the world. 25.9 million of those are refugees.
  • 37,000 people are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict/ persecution.
  • Turkey is currently the largest host of refugees in the world. 3.7 million refugees currently inhabit Turkey.
  • There is an ongoing crisis in Venezuela, four million individuals have left due to the deteriorating political, socioeconomic and human rights conditions.
  • The Rohingya people (stateless) continue to receive systematic persecution by the Rakhine State.
  • Syria is now in its eighth year of the war. More than half of the Syrian population have been displaced. Neighbouring countries have begun to show unwelcoming attitudes towards the Syrian refugees. However 75% of those who left Syria intent to return when it is safe.
  • The controversy of Libya’s power and detention centres continues. It is estimated that 5,400 refugees and migrants are being held in Libyan detention centres.
  • South Sudan, is currently the third-largest humanitarian crisis after Syria and Afghanistan. However, projects in South Sudan are significantly underfunded.
  • In the UK, there are an estimated 121,000 refugees. In 2018, there were 29,380 asylum applications made. The UK is also the third-largest resettlement country in the world following Canada and the USA.
  • A record 27,256 cases are still pending an initial decision by the UK Home Office which continues to leave people anxiously waiting and in a “limbo” state.”

“If you’d like to know how you can get involved with hosting-related activities, visit the NACCOM hosting web pages. Alternatively, look into your local charities like Birch!”

Esther’s blog was originally published on the BIRCH website.

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