Our Mission

At GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) we offer support to those seeking asylum in Gloucestershire, welcoming them when they arrive, advocating for them in their daily struggles, supporting them if they face being sent back as well as helping them adjust to their long term future if they are recognised as refugees.

Contact Information

Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS)
The Trust Centre
Falkner St

Telephone: 01452 550528
General enquiries: info@garas.org.uk
Administrative enquiries: admin@garas.org.uk

Adele Owen

From a VPR (Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement) Worker

June 20, 2018

Another day, another form to fill in. I am helping a Syrian lady apply for travel documents.

This is something she has been looking forward to. She could now travel to Europe and meet her family members after many years of separation.

We completed numerous forms together in the past to ensure smoother transition to the new life in the UK. However, this form is different. Applying for it means you have to submit your Syrian passport to the Home Office.

While I carefully remind her of this procedure, her eyes change to a recognizable look of sorrow, distance and pain. She looks at me silently, then looks at her passport, an immaculately clean blue booklet. A well kept diary of past family destinations, carefully protected through her journeys to safety, together with her most precious belongings.

I hold her hand gently and she starts weeping silently… This is yet another goodbye to her previous life.

For some people, passports are merely a formality, something not to forget to take on foreign travels. Some people associate them with anxious long queues, and an expensive stamp that will allow them to embark on a foreign travel. However, to others, passports can be much more. They provide a formal sense of belonging, a proof that the land they represent still exists somewhere and that you remain part of it.

Letting your passport go is a silent farewell to a hope that you will see your homeland and your loved ones soon.

The Syrian lady wipes her tears with dignity. After a deep sigh, she hands me over her passport and whispers: “Let’s do it, this is a new beginning…”.