3 June 2020
Refugee Solidarity SE is a project co-founded by SOAS Undergraduate Music and World Philosophies student Siân Rees. The project started during the pandemic and works to build solidarity with refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant people in South East London and beyond. This much-needed and rapidly growing organisation is currently supplying essential care packages, financial aid and technical/electrical equipment to people and organisations.
We found out that many food banks had closed, and people were in need of food, so we reached out to a woman called Lana from the Catford Community Fridge, who used to give out meals from surplus food to members of the community. We also started a WhatsApp group for individuals and organisations to share important information and to support each other in the South East area. I then reached out to members of the public to find delivery drivers. I started getting calls directly from people in need, who had been given my number from organisations and people. Lana received funding for this project, and is now feeding more than 70 people with bespoke food packages as well as toiletries and baby products on a weekly basis. We have been given a space now thanks to GRACE - Greenwich Refugee Aid and Community Network, where we now also take weekly donations where we receive 50+ bags of donations per week to various organisations who distribute it to their clients.
While we work with foodbanking projects in the area, we believe that this is the time for local and global solidarity. We also fundraise for international organisations as well as local organisations, and part of our fundraising plans are to have regular creative events, celebrating music and musicians of the world. At the moment we are raising money for Refugee cafe and Donate4refugees. Our plans for the future are to become a peer led project, working on community events and campaigning.
To support the Refugee Solidarity SE project by making a donation, visit Sian's GoFundMe page. You can also find Refugee Solidarity SE on Facebook and Instagram, and if you would like to help as a volunteer then you can contact Sian at: firstname.lastname@example.org.