I’m hoping that this blog post will explain the heart of Status:Welcomed to those who are wondering what we’re all about. Status:Welcomed took over a year to create and as we’re on the road we’re enjoying daily challenges to summarise the creation of this movement and what we hope to do. Let me try that for you now.
In response to researching the refugee crisis we found ourselves feeling paralysed and inferior in the face of dreaming up a response. We felt small and questioned what we could do, never mind how we could lead others into action too. Amidst hearing overwhelming refugee statistics and seeing media in the press showing masses of asylum seekers, we found one word that felt encouraging to us: hospitality. Hospitality as a response to the refugee crisis felt doable for us, but also felt relevant/vital/necessary for the asylum seeker. If a refugee’s story is that of going from a rock to a hard place (fleeing conflict and trauma to enter a new country through a lonely and difficult transition), we think that we can be a part of changing the ‘hard place’ part of this metaphor. We can positively influence a refugee’s transition story.
On our travels we’ve been privileged to hear some refugees share their first-hand stories with us. We’ve noticed that in their tales, which are often dark and lacking in hope, a stranger that offered a one-off small gesture of generosity became notable to the story that they told. These gestures were as small as somebody buying an asylum seeker a coffee (not knowing that the person hadn’t eaten or had a drink for twenty hours) or another paying for a refugee applicant’s bus fair from the airport to a shelter.
We dream of people deliberately seeking out ways to offer these gestures of hospitality that communicate to the refugee that they are noticed, but most of all, welcomed. Ultimately, we hope to see relationships built between locals and refugees/asylum seekers/migrants. For us, hospitality isn’t so much about charity or the dynamic of one in need and one offering help (although this may be where hospitality starts) but more about building relationships, in this instance with the foreigner. With hearty sincerity, we invite people to join Status:Welcomed, to run with it, to make it their own, and to use our suggestions of movement to engage with welcoming refugees in your area. It's all about hospitality, people.
For a final hoorah, I recommend heading to our 52 Week Challenge page if Status:Welcomed stirs any interest in you. All will be explained there.