Where Did the Money Go? (2019)

We raised over £5000! 
Well done all!
Read below to see how your efforts improved lives.

Half of the money raised goes to support refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham - through the work of Restore. See their website here.

Thank you to everyone who ran, walked and raised money for Restore.  Your efforts and generosity are greatly appreciated.

The money you raised has been used towards funding Restore's befriending work and men's and women's group social activities.

In 2019 we've made 55 new befriending matches - linking a volunteer we've trained to a refugee or asylum seeker.  Relational work takes time and 'results' may not be immediate.  One refugee said, “In the country I fled, so many people were trying to break me down.  Through Restore and befriending I have learnt the beauty of being built up. This was new to me.”

Recently, a refugee popped into the Restore office to update us on his situation.  Two years ago, he’d joined Restore as a newly arrived and isolated asylum seeker.  He spent a year meeting others and learning about Birmingham through Restore’s men’s social activities and commented that he now takes new people to those same places. He was linked to one of Restore's team of over 100 volunteer befrienders, who offered regular support and encouragement.  This was particularly important when his asylum application was refused as he was shocked by that decision and spent the next few months struggling with depression and anxiety. The consistent emotional support of the befriender was vital as the asylum seeker waited anxiously for his asylum appeal. That appeal was successful so with his newly granted refugee status he was keen to rebuild his life. His befriender helped him explore new possibilities. He applied for and was granted a scholarship to embark on a Master’s degree. Having just graduated, he is now optimistic about finding employment. Just one example of the difference Restore’s work makes!

The money you raised helps to fund core befriending costs including training volunteers, meeting new refugees and asylum seekers, matching volunteers to their befriendee and supporting refugees and volunteers.

Our group social activities to museums, music concerts and the countryside, combat isolation by building community.  They also provide valuable opportunities for using and developing English language skills.  The women's group enjoyed a day trip to Stratford, including the butterfly farm and women’s feedback included: “It reduced my stress” and “It was like a dream”. After a concert at the Symphony Hall, one woman commented, “I needed that music to relax a bit from stress of life, was wonderful music and I thank you.” The men's group trips have included a Walking Tour of the city centre and learnt more about the history of Birmingham, a hike around Sutton Park and an African music workshop on a canal boat chugging along from Brindley Place to Ladywood and back via the Icknield Port Loop. The money you raised helped to fund travel, hospitality and activity costs.

 

Please watch this video to see more of Restore's work.

We continue to visit about 125 Syrian families with over 200 children, in the area around Yalova. 

We visit the families in their homes to build relationships in addition to helping materially.

We have distributed goods that benefit the whole family (wood stoves, blankets, medicine) as well as hats, games, school supplies, and clothes for children specifically.

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Here are two stories we can share with you:

Recently, we visited a Syrian woman, Senaa, who had just given birth to a baby girl. She had been trying to have a child for years but could not for a variety of reasons. She was delighted to finally have a child, but as she spoke to us, she cried because she did not have enough money to keep the house warm and the baby was getting sick. We were able to buy enough bags of coal to heat her stove for about one month and we also delivered a baby package to her that included new clothes and warm things for her new baby girl. Senaa was delighted.

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Over one year ago we met a family with a young baby who had problems with his hip. The baby was their first and only child and the only solution was expensive surgery. We prayed for the child together and the parents wept as we prayed. Several months later we saw this family again and they were elated to see us. They told us that when they went to Istanbul for the surgery the doctor said that there was nothing wrong with the hip, the baby was completely healed! After this all the families in the area asked us to pray for them.

THE BEREKET PROJECT

Since the project begun in August 2015 we have always wanted to be able to help the women more financially, so that they would be able to make enough for their family’s basic needs. Over the last four years we have helped over 100 women. We still have founder members taking an active part, but refugee populations are transient, so many have also moved on. 

Many of the refugee members are increasingly helping in various roles, such as bookkeeping, quality control, training others in handcraft, marketing in Turkey, translation and design. We have succeeded in founding a small co-operative which relies on dedicated volunteers and donations as well as sales in The West.

To be sustainable we need to transform into a social enterprise driven by market demand. For this to happen we needed outside help. In September two visitors from the UK decided to use their considerable experience founding successful companies to partner with us. They have started a business plan including marketing and have already founded a not-for-profit business based in the UK.