Earlier this summer “Eye on Wales” followed a group from the Pembrokeshire town of Narberth as they prepared to welcome a family of Syrian refugees to west Wales.
Croeso Arberth was one of the first in the country to help a Syrian family escape life in a refugee camp in the Middle East under the Home Office’s Community Sponsorship Scheme.
Five months on, Sarah Moore revisits Narberth to catch up with Croeso Arberth and meet the family to find out how they are settling in to their new home.
Click here for the programme this evening at 18.30 on BBC Radio Wales and Wales Online
Our thanks go to Christine Hughes for her updates and inspiration about this scheme. Her solidarity and tenacity are an inspiration to us all.
Croeso teams are working with Hiraeth Hope in West Wales to respond to the refugee crisis in a civilised sustainable way – with human faces, not beaurocracy .
Hiraeth Hope is a member of Citizens Cymru/ Citizens UK, working with the Home Office.
Croeso Arberth’s role is to prepare for, and to settle, 3 Syrian families into the area of Narberth in accordance with Pembrokeshire County Council and the Home Office initiative of Community Sponsorship.
The first family has now arrived, and they are settling in well after a very warm welcome from the community. English language lessons have commenced, and the family is working hard to learn the language as fast as they can.
Lots of activities are being arranged to help the family fit into the local community, including 5-a-side football on a Sunday morning.
Compassionate God, open our hearts, that we may feel the breath and play of your Spirit, unclench our hands that we may reach out to one another in openness and generosity, free our lips that we may speak for those whose voices are not heard, unblock our ears to hear the cries of the broken-hearted, and open our eyes to see Christ in friend and stranger, that in sharing our love and our pain, our poverty and our prosperity, we may move towards that peace and justice which comes from you and so be bearers of divine reconciliation. Amen.
According to the UN, the world is witnessing the highest levels of displaced people on record. Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from home by conflict and persecution (by the end of 2016).
Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
There are also 10 million stateless people, who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
People fleeing persecution and conflict have been granted asylum in foreign lands for thousands of years.
The conflict in Syria, now in its seventh year, has produced the largest number of refugees: 5.5 million.
Humanitarian needs in Syria have increased significantly since the beginning of the crisis, with 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 6 million children.
Many Syrians have been forced to leave their homes, often multiple times, which has led to 6.3 million people in Syria being made homeless inside the country and more than 5 million people (as of March 2017) registered as refugees in neighbouring countries.
More than half the country’s pre-war population, 14.9 million people, are in need of urgent humanitarian aid – food, water, shelter and protection.
CAFOD is one of the few aid agencies working within Syria. Working with our Church partners, we are able to support Syrians caught up in the fighting and refugees who have fled Syria to neighbouring countries like Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.
Please help us support people fleeing for safety.