The foreigners residing among you must be treated as native-born.
Love them as yourself, for you were foreigner in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34
Here at St. John’s we support a group of refugees who are guests at the Queen’s Hotel in Crystal Palace. The project started in March 2022 after a meeting with All Saints Primary School where many of their children are pupils. The school and the refugees outlined to us the restricted living conditions at the hotel: small rooms without suitable space for the children to play or for parents to relax; only some of the families have facilities for cooking –the hotel provides cooked meals for those without facilities, although often the meals don’t meet the refugees’ cultural needs.
What do we do?
Every Friday from 9.30 – 12.30 pm we host a coffee morning where we have the opportunity to talk to the refugees, hear their stories and respond the best we can to their needs.
We have about 25 mothers who are coming regularly with the children who aren’t yet of school age. We provide hot drinks with cakes and biscuits, every week.
We have also organised some keep fit sessions, art sessions and ongoing English classes.
Meeting them and talking to them has helped us to have some awareness of their struggles.
Some of them are refugees for political reasons, for example we have highly educated women who had to leave their country because the education system has been repressed by their government; we also have some Iranian Christians who had to escape for fear of been persecuted. They came here with nothing, some had to leave part of their family behind and every day they wonder what the future will bring.
Following their request we provide each with a bag of dry food containing pulses and rice.
Through various donations we have been giving adult and children’s clothes, pots, pans,
kitchen utensils, plates etc. We have also been giving moses baskets, activity mats, and toys. But it is only with the help of our community that we can continue to provide these items.
What can you do?
These people, who at the moment are called refugees, could be our future doctors, nurses and professionals in other fields, and I’m sure if a resident status is given, they will become a great asset in our society.
The refugees need the following items:
Pot and pans
Cutlery and plates
And on a weekly basis, we are very grateful to receive basmati rice, red lentils, split peas and white beans.
These are items that often we take for granted and generally have a little appreciation.
For our refugees these items are a precious treasure and they are desperate to receive them.
Please help if you can, we welcome any donations in money or the above items.
May the Lord give you a heart of compassion and love.
Southwark Pastoral Auxiliary