#WhatHomeMeans for the UK for UNHCR team (part 3) 

A traditional cooking pot… A pair of shoes… Children’s fancy dress costumes… 

The team at UK for UNHCR share what always brings them back “home”.  


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Home can mean different things to different people. To some, home is a smell, an object or a feeling, but to others, it may be a food, a pet, or a piece of clothing. Regardless of what home means to you, everyone can agree that it’s meant to be a place of comfort or safety. 

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.   

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…  

Charlotte Boyle, Trustee 

This means home to me because the first thing I do when I get home after a trip, is put the kettle on and make a cup of tea. The mug is one of my favourites. It comes from a shop in the town where I grew up that is next to the bookshop where my I spent lots of time as a child. It’s only after I’ve drunk my cup of tea, that I really feel that I have really arrived home.” 

Emma Goates, Senior Direct Marketing Fundraising Officer

“These are some of my children’s favourite costumes and they are the epitome of home for me. Every evening without fail, my son and daughter each pick out a costume and change into their favourite characters. My son Charlie often transforms into Batman and saves his toys from certain doom, and my daughter Matilda will usually become Belle and imagines that she is in an enchanted castle. This routine always marks the start of our evening, when the working day has finished and we’re back at home enjoying being together. It doesn’t really matter how we’ve all the spent the day, we always finish it at home together, with our favourite superheroes and princesses.” 

Mark Macdonald, Director, Communications & Corporate Affairs 

It’s a traditional old cooking pot, my Dutch mother’s, her parents’ before her, and a familiar sight since childhood. Since then it’s been repurposed for all sorts – once a plant pot, then a home to wooden cooking spoons. Always in the kitchen. It reminds me of family meals and ‘gezelligheid’ – a feeling captured by just one word in Dutch that means many things in English – cosiness, happiness, being with loved ones, feeling content. To me they are all the ingredients of ‘home’.” 

Mevan Babakar, Trustee  

“These are a miniature version of a pair of shoes called ‘Klash’. They’ve been worn in Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey for hundreds of years, some even claim that Zoroaster in 600 BC was the first person to wear them! Seeing these little shoes reminds me of the depth of history that I come from. It reminds me that even though my physical home may be transient my cultural and ancestral homes stand firm.” 

 Ola Akanbi, Data Analyst

Lunchtimes in Nigeria meant sitting at the low table with my Dad’s mug and eating garri. I tried my best to share with my brother but still our spoons would clash. But soon we would laugh then make some songs then laugh some more.” 

Genna AlTai, Senior Digital Communications Officer

This sign will always remind me of being cosied up in my Welsh grandparents’ kitchen – a space with far too much clutter but just the right amount of atmosphere and warmth.

A constant fixture in my grandparents’ kitchen, I think it perfectly represented my grandad’s way of being. I have the sign now and it always takes me back to that feeling of love and security that you get when you’re “home.” It also serves as an important reminder that, no matter what life throws at you, kindness is the way.“ 

Lucy Murtagh, Project Manager

“My home is anywhere my little boy is. We lived in Kenya when he was born then had to move back to the UK during Covid. I really miss Kenya but being his mum makes me feel at home wherever we are.” 

This post is part 3 of a series. Please visit our website to read part 1 and part 2.  

Our Gallery of the (New) Home is now open for submissions. Visit our website and share what home means to you.  


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