This Refugee Week we’re exploring what home means to different people. Everyone has a sense of what home means to them, whether it’s a place, an object or a person. We’re asking refugees and their friends, families and supporters to come together and share #WhatHomeMeans.
Maysara, a Syrian refugee living in the UK, talks about what home means for him and why it’s important to stand with refugees.
When I think about what home means for me, I go back to one of my old fond memories of home. I go back to my hometown, Idlib, where friends and family would come together in the garden on warm summer evenings. As we sat around the crackling fire, sharing laughter and stories, I learned a lot about what home means.
Home isn’t a physical structure but it’s the warmth and acceptance of those around us.
I still remember how people used to gather around in that garden, have conversations and share laughter or even sorrow. Some of our friends and family members used to come by and ask the elderly people for advice. They respected and accepted each other and genuinely wanted to help and support one another.
Home means family, friends, love, memories, safety, belonging and love. The physical dwelling is only a shell; it is the people and the connections formed within its walls that truly make it a home.
After my family and I were forced to flee our home, in Syria, I have been searching for the meaning of a new home. The more I grow, the more I realise that my home is the gathering of my friends in this photo. We accept each other regardless of colour, religion, background, origin, or refugee status. The only thing that matters when we meet is our mutual respect, love and a shared willingness to support one another.
This group of my people helped me to find a new place that I can call home here in the UK. A home which is built around acceptance and showing empathy to one another.
I was fortunate enough to find a place that accepts me and doesn’t label me. I truly believe that all refugees deserve to find similar places where they feel safe and accepted.
Refugees deserve the same fundamental human rights and dignity as anyone else. They had already gone through a lot when they were forced to flee their homes. Now they must start a new life as strangers, alone in another country.
Refugee Week is a good time to start re-evaluating the misconceptions and stereotypes about forcibly displaced people. They’re strong, resilient and talented people.
Refugees play a pivotal role in fostering economic growth as they bring a wealth of diverse skills, talents and entrepreneurial spirit to the host community. With their professional qualifications and work experience, they effectively bridge labour gaps and inject innovative ideas into the local community.
To stand with refugees is to have empathy towards those who had no other choice but to flee their homes due to war, persecution or other life-threatening circumstances.
To stand with refugees is also to create a world where everyone, regardless of their background, feels the warmth of home wherever they may be.
To read Maysara’s full story, please visit this link.
We’d love for you to share what home means to you. Please submit your image and story via our website here.