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LEARNING AND HELPING - A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE FOR YOUNG ASYLUM SEEKERS

Posted on 26 September 2016

LEARNING AND HELPING - A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE FOR YOUNG ASYLUM SEEKERS

Christopher Talbot writes:- “La Côte Anglican Church in Switzerland has been working with asylum seekers in western Switzerland for about 10 years. Almost all of those accommodated in our area and single males. We were greatly encouraged by a two-day visit from Hannah Elwyn of the Refugee Support Network (RSN) in London who spent time with us to describe RSN’s work in helping unaccompanied young asylum seekers, refugees and survivors of trafficking.

"On 21 September, Hannah spoke at La Côte’s parish rooms to some 40 people from a number of churches in the cantons of Vaud and Geneva. Despite some political and institutional differences, there are many points of similarity between the struggles faced by the young people whom RSN supports in the UK and those of the young asylum seekers of the La Côte area. RSN’s experience over the past seven years holds precious lessons for churches and Christian associations all over Europe.

"The following day, Hannah offered more focused training to 15 people from La Côte and other churches that are working most directly with asylum seekers in Switzerland. Responding to needs articulated by participants she dealt with four major themes: the opportunities and challenges for a Christian organization in working with asylum seekers; working with volunteers; mentoring and supporting refugees and asylum seekers in education and training; and strategic planning and management of such programmes. The team working on these issues at La Côte Church took away many practical lessons."

RSN was established in 2009 by a group of Christians in North-West London and today supports over 300 young refugees and asylum seekers per year across London at every step of their education journey. RSN believes that by investing in young asylum seekers’ and refugees’ education, they are communicating that these young people have a future that is worth investing in. For more information, see: https://refugeesupportnetwork.org.