Last month we were contacted by Iolanda Chirico, the founder of one of our chosen charities AFRIL (Action for Refugees in Lewisham), with information about the current project for which she is founder and Chair.
This is the Refugee Cafe. Please read the inspiring mission below and, if you want to support, we can share the good news that there is an online shop! Perfect for small gifts including, at the moment, some Valentine Day items. You can shop for interesting items, knowing that you are contributing to an important project.
The Refugee Cafe runs a series of events and markets to bring the community together and celebrate the wonderful culinary cultures in Lewisham. They are fundraising to offer training opportunities and are planning to open a cafe later this year.
The mission statement on their website states:
By 2022 Lewisham will become a ‘Borough of Sanctuary’, welcoming 100 vulnerable families from war torn countries.
We want to make sure Lewisham is also a Borough of Opportunity!
With a lack of language skills, UK worked experience and knowledge of the local job market, a refugee is 4 times more likely to be unemployed than the general population and 5 times more likely to experience mental health issues.
Unable to find work, many turn to illegitimate jobs where they face low wages and exploitation. This makes refugees some of the more vulnerable people in London.
Our mission is to break down these barriers and create opportunity, employability and community for those granted asylum in London.
The Refugee Cafe website includes information about the project, how to get involved and a blog, in addition to the online shop.