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

Refugee Week events

June 21, 2016

Please keep an eye on the GARAS website for events taking place in Refugee Week.  These are being updated (please comment below or email the office if you have other events you wish to be advertised).  So far, these include/ have included:

Cake Sale 20 & 21 June – Cheltenham

A cake sale will be held at at the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham on Monday 20th June 10:30 – 2pm at FCH Chapel and Tues 21st, 11am – 2pm at Elwes Reception, raising funds for GARAS during Refugee Week.

Vigil in Stroud

There will be a vigil for refugees at St Lawrence Church, Stroud on Monday 20th June at 7:30pm. 

Art Exhibition, Stroud

An Art Exhibition is being held in Stroud Sub Rooms, all week: Monday 20th to Saturday 25th June.

Arabic Music at Sub Rooms, Stroud

There will be music on the forecourt of the Sub Rooms in Stroud from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 25th June.

Film Night 26 June 2016 – Gloucester

A documentary about the making of Queens of Syria will be shown on Sunday 26th June at 8.30 pm at the Sherborne Cinema in Gloucester. Tickets are £5 each (popcorn is £1).  You can view a trailer here.

Adele Owen, our Director, will be there and give a short presentation prior to the screening.  Doors open at 8pm and there will be a retiring collection for GARAS.

The live show will open at the Young Vic in London in July, and run for a week before touring the UK.

Refugee Week – Day Two

June 21, 2016

World Refugee Day

I had intended to provide a brief history to the responsibilities we have legally, never mind ethically!  But I have only just got home and maybe, given today, it may be more appropriate to say a little about children, children on their own, somehow surviving against all kinds of odds.  Over the years I have worked with asylum seekers and refugees, it is frequently the children who have touched me most.

What does it take a parent or a family member to come to the conclusion that sending your child on some extraordinary journey is the best for them?

What does it say about the situation that they are in that this the best option, the best future?

Scars both physical and emotional can be very visible and yet so to is the resilience, the commitment to hard work, the ready smile and the childlike trust.

We have been looking at some of the initiatives that are coming into play to support children through Resettlement, Family Reunion in Europe and the so called Lord Dubbs amendment.
Yet today has also involved discussions about the additional legal constraints that are being placed upon these youngsters, withdrawal of access to services and legal help all being implemented through the most recent Immigration Act and a build up of creating a “hostile environment “.
Happy World Refugee Day!

-Adele

Refugee Week – Day One

June 20, 2016

At some point in 1941, a small family left their home and almost everything they owned, in Java and travelled to India where the father joined the Indian Army.  In time the mother, with two small girls, took the SS Stratheden to sail across the world, round the coast of Africa and finally arriving in Scotland to live out the rest of the war. In February 1942 the father was one of the many who were captured at the Fall of Singapore.  Fortunately for them, at some point in the Autumn of 1945 the father finally returned and the reunion was joyful, the family was together again.

So why do I believe that it is important to allow people to move to safety? Because the older girl is my mother, her story has become our story.  A story that resonates every day for me and for all who have a glimpse of the threat of war, the violence that it entails, the challenge of travel in dangerous circumstances, the pain of separation and the joy of reunion.

Let’s celebrate Refugee Week.

-Adele

Refugee Week Reflection #6

June 20, 2014

World Refugee Day – here are some facts: 51.2 million people have had to flee their homes.  17.9 million leaving their countries.  6.3 million have been living as refugees for many years. Where do they live?  Mostly next door.  For instance, of the 2.5 million from Afghanistan, 1.6 million live in Pakistan.  Ten years ago, 30% managed to get to safety in wealthy countries.  Today that has dropped to 14%.  So of that, we work with a minuscule number.  But I hope that what I have spoken of this week shows loud and clear that every single one of these is a human being with the same longings, cares and hopes as you and me.

The Strangers

June 19, 2014

Below is a poem written especially for Gloucester Refugee Day.  It was read it out by the poet Phil Wood.  We would like to thank Brunswick Baptist for their hospitality and warm welcome to GARAS clients today.

The Strangers

They come to us seeking refuge,

From countries both near and far,

In fear of persecution or torture,

Escaping the conflicts of war.

 

Who knows what fate had to offer?

Whether they lived or they die!

In a fight they had no chance of winning,

No matter how hard they tried.

 

Now far away from their families,

In a strange unfamiliar land,

People talking to them as a foreigner,

In a language they don’t understand.

 

How strange it must all seem to them,

I wonder how I would cope,

If I had to run from my homeland,

With nothing before me but hope.

 

Let’s welcome our brothers and sisters,

Show them the love that we can,

Treat them as one of our family,

Share in the brotherhood of man.