St Josephs Cathedral Primary School
St Joseph’s has become Swansea’s first Primary School of Sanctuary. This means it is a school that helps its students, staff and wider community understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary and to extend a welcome to everyone as equal, valued members of the school community. It is a school that is proud to be a place of safety and inclusion for all.
Pupils at St Joseph’s learned about the challenges current migrants and their families face, and took part in anti-racism workshops such as ‘Show Racism the Red Card’. They met local refugee and asylum seeker families and organisations. They also learned about the history of their school, which was founded by Irish immigrants.
For Refugee Week, Year 5 enjoyed a visit from Otis Bolamu, who talked about his own experiences as an asylum seeker. The pupils produced some wonderful artistic responses, which were displayed at Swansea Civic Centre.
Well done for all their hard work, and congratulations on achieving School of Sanctuary status!
Integration is key to Circus Eruption, which accepts young people and volunteers from all walks of life regardless of their race, color, religion, sexuality, and gender. Now on Monday evenings, Circus Eruption is running a circus for young people who are refugees or seeking asylum.
Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity. They support people living with and affected by HIV and poor sexual health and have made it part of their mission to ensure that the voices of people affected by HIV are heard. In Swansea, as elsewhere those seeking sanctuary include those living with HIV who may have fled countries where this is an even greater stigma than it unfortunately still is here.THT Cymru has supported many such people through their hardship fund scheme, helping to fill out benefit support forms, providing letters of support and even in court hearings. Their HIV point of care community testing service is available to the asylum-seeking community, allowing people to get an instant HIV test and results and begin to receive support where needed, including a counseling service. THT also actively includes people seeking sanctuary as trained volunteers, some of whom have become champions or positive speakers, speaking from a place of knowledge to stakeholders to bring issues facing those seeking sanctuary to the fore.
THT engages in a lot of partnership and multi-stakeholder work and is part of the Public Health Network, Cymru (PHNC). They use these platforms to highlight some of the particular needs of people seeking sanctuary, who may have fled their countries for reasons associated with their sexual orientation or sexual health – including issues around female genital mutilation (FGM) as well as HIV. For example, it is often worthwhile to adapt services to cater to people’s mental wellbeing and ensure they know they are welcome to seek help and that services are open to them without fear or stigma, whilst being culturally sensitive and accommodating.