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

A GEM of a job

June 25, 2018

Here is another blog in our series, an mouth watering reflection on one of the many benefits there are of working in this field – Editor

My role is to support individuals gain employment, get into training or take up voluntary work and the lack of English does not stop many individuals trying to carve out a career and use their many and varied skills to contribute to society and the local and national economy. There is however one currency that seems to need no formal language skills and shows the human spirit in all its generous glory. It never ceases to amaze me and I am forever surprised by the generosity offered to me.

I have been invited to sit and eat breakfast at 10.30 with a family, while I worked through a CV pulling at warm flatbreads and popping delicious big olives into my mouth. In another home, surprised by being offered a full Syrian spread for lunch, with an insistence that I sit and take part, I put my laptop down and eat food I have never tasted before and disappear into culinary delights, dabbing weakly at oily smears on my keyboard. The lack of a common language makes no difference where food is concerned.

Ice-creams soaked in fruit juice and cream, chocolate, sweet lemon teas and Arabic coffees, are all regular offerings with minimum fuss but deep hospitality, sharing need and conversation, warm open gestures and expectation that I will partake and will enjoy.

I do.  

However the corrections I have received, gently and unconsciously delivered by my clients, requires me to review how we all take so much for granted. The assumptions I have made, and, when faced with individuals who are struggling to get their head round the processes and procedures of this land, while dealing with deep scars and separations, recovering from torture and injustice, is deeply humbling.

And yes, never more so when someone fasting offers you coffee and biscuits during Ramadan.

It is extraordinary what one day can bring.  

By GEM worker Sarah Fotheringham employed by GARAS on the GEM project.