When you close your eyes and think of home, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
In honour of this year’s Refugee Week, we launched our Gallery of the (New) Home, an online exhibition that aims to explore the notion of ‘home’ by asking refugees, their friends and supporters to share their photos and stories.
Whether it’s a place, an object or a person, everyone has a strong sense of what home means to them.
Our Gallery of the (New) Home serves to create a conversation, while inspiring all of us to keep working together to help refugees around the world find a safe, new place that they can call home themselves.
This is #WhatHomeMeans for the team at UK for UNHCR…
Emma Cherniavsky, Chief Executive
“Growing up in a family where we moved and travelled a lot, Owly was my companion when I was overwhelmed or homesick, and in the decades since he has been at my side in every new place I have lived in, whether that’s for a day, a month, a year or ten. He reminds me that from a young age I have always found my way thanks to the wisdom and kindness of others, and that is what home is for me – not a particular place, but the feeling of becoming part of a new community through shared experiences, overcoming adversity together and building friendships that can last a lifetime.”
Sumi Aktar, Supporter Experience Manager
“Home is tumultuous skies, pouring rain mid-May and no seats on the train to work. Home is praying in a park with your friends at sunset as people go about their evening. Home is an aching heart in Trafalgar Square and not even the pigeons stop to give you or your tears breathing room. Home is the orchestra of different languages that you can hear on any road in the city. Home is coming back from anywhere, anytime, looking up and seeing this skyline and knowing that, come what may, this is your place.”
Michael Wraight, Email Marketing Officer
“Home is something special. It is not just a place. It’s somewhere safe where we all feel that we belong.
“Everywhere I’ve lived I keep a picture of my family by my bed. In this photograph we are in one of our first homes, where we lived with my nan when I was little. We’ve lived in many other homes since, together, and as we got older, separately.
“As we grow up and begin to build our own homes and lives, I keep this picture as a little piece of that first and most precious place that I call home, my family.”
Deej Senghore, Communications Coordinator
“The one thing I associate with home is laughing with my family. Whether it’s BBQ’s in the rain, my Grandma shaking her hips to Shakira, the predictable mishaps when making Christmas dinner, or attempting to Kayak in a shallow river as the picture shows – laughter can always be heard echoing in the background.
“No matter how much things change, when we come together, laughter has remained a constant.”
Mona Abdalhafiz, Communications Officer
“My mother, Fadila, gave me this beautiful Palestinian embroidered shawl almost five years ago when I was moving away from home for the first time.
“I still remember her tight hug when she wrapped her shawl around my shoulders on a cold September night while I was saying goodbye to my family. The next morning, she packed it in my suitcase to remind me of her and to have a little bit of home wherever I go.
“Her shawl symbolizes home, and it is always there to remind me of her smell, tight hugs, kindness, resilience, reassuring voice, prayers, and the many houses she made ‘home’ for us over the years.”
This post is part 1 of a series.
Our Gallery of the (New) Home is now open for submissions. Visit our website and share what home means to you.