At Oasis, we are rooted in a deep belief that every human being is made in the image of God. As such it almost goes without saying that we have been tremendously saddened, angered and frustrated by the stories of despair and destruction that have filled TV screens and bombarded social media in recent weeks. We are grateful to those of you who have contacted us to enquire what Oasis is doing to help put our mission into practice around the current refugee crisis. While we recognise and welcome that governments are beginning to act in response to the public outcry over the crisis, we strongly believe that their current reaction across Europe is too little and comes far too late.
At this time of heightened attention on the issues of people fleeing persecution it is critical for all of us to resist the lure of only focusing on short-term solutions – to be persuaded that this crisis can be resolved simply by European governments offering to take in round numbers of refugees, however vital that might be. True rescue for someone fleeing persecution means being equipped with the language skills to integrate into society, having the resources to live independently and the skills to obtain meaningful employment. For many years now Oasis has been working in communities that include many refugees and asylum seekers.
Our life-changing work in this area includes:
- Supporting refugee families through our Academy network – Many of our Academies are located in inner-city environments and communities of great transience. In just one of our London-based schools 69 languages are spoken, more than any other school in England. In many Academies, we work with refugee families, helping them learn the language, assist them in navigating their way through complicated legal and bureaucratic systems to ensure they have the support they need and where necessary, directly intervening to make sure that they are housed, fed and clothed. Recently, one of our Academies – Oasis Academy Foundry in Winson Green, Birmingham – was declared a ‘School of Sanctuary’ for its work in creating a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK.
- Providing housing and family-style support for young refugees – Through our housing provisions in Peckham, Croydon and the North-East of England we have housed young people who have fled persecution in their country of origin. Thanks to the practical and emotional support provided by our teams, young people have been transformed in just eighteen months, quickly learning the language, completing the necessary paper work and learning skills that would make them relevant to the UK workforce and allow them to move on to sustainable living.
- Support where it is needed most – Oasis works across 11 countries around the world. Some of the countries in which we operate, such as Belgium, have seen refugees abandoned there through no fault of their own, often having received serious injury. Oasis Belgium’s community hub has been able to support vulnerable refugees by providing transitional accommodation, access to education and donating food to families that need it.
- Anti-trafficking work – The pictures of people’s lives being endangered after they were tricked onto over-crowded boats represent the visible dangers of human trafficking. Sadly however, most of the people forced into this form of modern-day slavery is unseen. Through the work of Oasis across the world, particularly through the STOP THE TRAFFIK network, we seek to generate exposure around this global crime, training and equipping communities to spot the signs of trafficking and becoming resilient to modern-day slavery.
As the events of the summer have brought into sharp relief, many people are in desperate need. In need of family, in need of community and a safe, peaceful place of refuge. In need of help. Here in the UK, we want to ensure that each and every person who comes into our care is welcomed. And for that, we need your help.
By donating to Oasis you can help fund:
Youth and community workers that will play a crucial role in helping families and young people from a refugee background integrate into the community, demonstrating the immense value that they have to offer.
Housing support workers that are the life-blood of young people who have had to flee from or without their families. Through building trust and strong relationships with young people they can ensure they have the skills to move toward independent living.
Anti-trafficking training that communities need to spot the signs of modern-day slavery and to bring a STOP to this global crime that is growing faster than any other.
To donate toward the work of Oasis please click here.