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
Gloucester
GL1 4SQ

Telephone: 01452 550528
email: info@garas.org.uk
www.garas.org.uk

Director
Adele Owen

Where there is light.

January 20, 2020

A quick check on a definition of art is that it communicates ideas, (this can be political, spiritual and philosophical); to create a sense of beauty; to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions.

I will be bold and say that the Installation at Gloucester Cathedral, Where There is Light, does all of these.

It is an incredibly moving and powerful work of art which I would encourage everyone to go and visit.

Dont just take my words here is a link to what thee press have said!

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids/instagrammers-going-crazy-stunning-new-3753735

It will be at the Cathedral till the 23rd February, I hope it continues throughout the coming weeks, to impress and inspire all who have a chance to spend time in it.

Adele

Happy Birthday

January 1, 2020

Happy Birthday – dont I mean Happy New Year?Why happy birthday?
If we were to sort our files by date of birth we would find that today is the day that overwhelms all other birthdays and as a method of sorting it would fail.
Why is this the case? Well surprising as it may sound to us not everyone knows their date of birth, maybe because its not important, maybe because its in a different calendar and difficult to calculate. But an official somewhere along the line wants a date to put into their forms and without any decent questioning or use of imagination, they take a guess and 1/01 it is.
This seems a perfect example of unimportant people can seem, how we fail to see the individual in front of us and where a bureaucracy over rules any desire to be compassionate.
As we step nervously into this new year and decade, concerned about how the last one turned out and how fragile so much of life seems here one suggestion as a Resolution – lets try always to take every indidvual as they are and who they are. Let us take the time to listen to each other, then maybe we will stand a chance of improving all our lives and making this year a bit better.
Happy new year and happy birthday.
Adele

Is this for you?

November 27, 2019

Educational Mentoring Volunteer Scheme

As part of GARAS’s commitment to our young people, we have set up a volunteer educational mentoring scheme, which aims to contribute to the support and encouragement of asylum seeking young people in the Gloucester area so that their transition to and progress through the education system is enhanced.

Having a positive experience of education is an important part of a young person’s well-being. Unfortunately in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to place them quickly into appropriate education settings. Sometimes it can take many months, and even then there might be a limit to the amount and type of provision offered. GARAS plays a critical role in supporting them through this time, providing advice and free English classes.

But we want more for these young people. The volunteer educational mentoring scheme is one piece of the jigsaw. Through this scheme we match up an appropriate volunteer with a young person, and they then meet for an hour once a week to talk about their school or college work.

The scheme has now being running for a few months. Here is what one of our volunteers has to say about taking part in the scheme:

I really enjoy being an educational mentor and it is certainly one of the highlights of my week. It’s great to see the young person I work with making progress in his college work and to know that I have played a small part in that. Sometimes we talk about his English and do practice exercises from his college book. Sometimes I have printed off a BBC sport match report for his favourite football team that we read together. At the moment he is preparing for a Maths test so we are working through some practice papers he has been given.”

He has a brilliant attitude to his learning and I’m so impressed with his determination. I think he appreciates the time to talk about his work one-to-one. I guess I act as a sort of practical cheerleader, cheering him on and adding an extra layer of support.”

We are always looking for more volunteers, and we have no shortage of young people who would benefit from this kind of support. Please see the information below for how you can find out more. The scheme has been set up in collaboration with Redcliffe College and with the support of the Diocese of Gloucester LIFE development fund.

Tim Davy

PS If this is of interest to you, or you would like to know more please contact Adele Owen at info . She will be able to provide more information and if you want to explore this further, we can arrange to meet.

39 Dead

October 25, 2019

How did you react when you heard the terrible news of those 39 people dying together in the back of a refrigerated lorry?

I can unashamedly admit to bursting into tears, the sheer horror of the situation they had faced, the abuse of human beings, the desperation that leads to such situations all come to mind. This is alongside the memory of stories I have heard from others who have made similar dangerous journeys; others who have felt the panic of the cold in a refrigerated lorry; the scars from being strapped underneath; the dark, the not knowing where you are; the lack of control, to name but a few.

It got me thinking of the misuse of human beings over time, of the slave ships of the 18th Century packing people into cargo holds with no care of deaths along the way. Have we really not moved on from then? Are we still seeing people treated as commodities? The desperate answer is yes.

We have yet to find out why this group were there, whether this was smuggling or trafficking, but whichever it is, no-one had the care to check if they were all right. No-one bothered to treat them properly, what does that say? What can we try to learn? How can we create a world where we all have a sense of responsibility to each other, whoever we are?

Adele

The World on Our Doorstep

August 16, 2019

At the moment there is an exhibition on at St Mary de Crypt entitled the World on Our Doorstep. You can see displays telling the stories of different groups of refugees arriving in Gloucestershire over the centuries. The most recent bring it up to date and include some sound recordings of stories told by those here today. If you are able to, it is worth trying the sound pens to hear them. There is also a short video of some of the highlights from the event there on the 18th June. If you would like to watch to it all, it is here on this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fJ4AbsurtQ&feature=youtu.be

Please also add your world wide links to the map and add comments to the books. Thank you.

Adele