A film charting the experiences of four Syrian families escaping the war torn country to make new lives for themselves in Woking has been released to mark this year’s Refugee Week (14 to 20 June 2021).
It tells their journey, in their own words, of leaving Syria and fleeing to a country of asylum, prior to registering with the Government’s Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and making their way to the UK with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The film, entitled My Journey, gives four of these families a voice and highlights their great resilience and determination.
Since 2015, Woking Borough Council has been working with the Home Office to give 50 families who fled the Syrian conflict a new start - the largest resettlement programme in the south east. Supported by the council, the programme provides housing and intensive support for resettlement including health needs, benefits, employment, language training and social integration.
Cllr Ayesha Azad, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: "Refugees make long and often treacherous journeys to escape harm and keep their families safe. This short documentary illustrates the stark reality of what it is like to escape from a war-torn country and embark on, quite literally, the journey of a lifetime.
“Woking residents have a long history of welcoming people from all walks of life, of every nationality, belief and background, and I am proud that our openness has extended to the families who have shared their experiences in the short documentary. I hope they will be able rebuild their lives, away from the danger of war, and bring their unique contributions to our vibrant, diverse borough.”
Speaking on behalf of the families, Woking Borough Council’s Family and Community Services Manager, Adam Thomas, added: “We want to use this film thank everyone that has been involved in welcoming these families, including all our partners and local communities but most of all the families themselves who are an inspiration.”
Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June, Refugee Week is also a growing global movement.
Refugee Week’s vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.
The theme of Refugee Week this year is ‘We cannot walk alone’.
The film can be viewed now by visiting Woking Borough Council’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/WokingBoroughCouncil