A Christmas message from one of our members, Open Doors

Hull: P/T Community Engagement Worker at HANA
13th December 2019
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13th December 2019

A Christmas message from one of our members, Open Doors

We wanted to share a Christmas message from one of our members to highlight the
amazing work that is taking place across Hull.

If you haven’t heard of Open Doors, please read on to find out how their amazing
organisation helps people in the city.

As Christmas is approaching, we would like to thank you for the support you have given us this year and we hope that you will continue to help Open Doors in 2020. 

This year we have “opened our doors” to over 100 asylum seekers of 30 different
nationalities per week (Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Eritrea being the largest groups), to whom we have offered food parcels (5314 to date!), help and friendly support in safe surroundings. We are also supporting 28 ‘destitute’ asylum seekers, whose asylum claim was rejected by the Home Office and who are waiting for their appeals to go through; they receive no help
at all from the government, they are not allowed to work and they live entirely on our food
parcels and on a handout of £ 10 a week from Open Doors.
For them in particular and for all asylum seekers in general, Christmas is a difficult time:
while all around them people are celebrating, buying presents, enjoying good food and
spending time with their families, they are in a cold country very different from their own,
missing their loved ones and not knowing when they will see them again; their financial
hardship and the fact that they are not allowed to work make them particularly vulnerable
and prone to sadness and depression. We at Open Doors try to help them in every possible way, for example holding special Christmas celebrations for both children and adults (see below) but we desperately need your help. Please consider at this Christmas time the
possibility of giving to our cause and making a difference to people who are less fortunate than us. 
You can find how to donate, and more details about what your donations would cover, at
the end of this newsletter.
Once again, thank you for your support and we wish you peace and joy this Christmas and

throughout the new year!
THANK YOU…
We would like to thank the following churches, schools and organizations who responded
to our Harvest appeal and made generous donations to Open Doors:

St Peter’s Church (Rawley), Ferriby Methodist Church, All Saints Church (North Cave),
Tower Hill Methodist Church (Hessle), Clowes Methodist Church, Bridlington Methodist
Circuit, Elsternwick Methodist Church and Chapel, St Cuthbert’s Church, Brayton Methodist Church, Hope Church (Orchard Park),  Bolton Methodist Church (nr Pocklington), St Anne’s Church (Ellerker), All Saints Church (South Cave), South Cave School, Brambley Lodge Day Nursery (South Cave), Willerby Methodist Church, Willerby Carr Lane Junior School.
NEWS
CELEBRATION FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS
WHO HAVE OBTAINED REFUGEE STATUS

 On October 12th a celebration was held at PAMC for a number of our asylum seekers who have been granted ‘leave to remain’ or ‘refugee status’, some of them after a very long
process, in some cases lasting a few years. The celebration started with an excellent meal provided by volunteers from different countries, and then the new refugees were called in
turn to the stage to say a few words and had a chance to thank Open Doors for the
practical and emotional support it provided them through a very long and difficult time. It
was a very moving occasion. We wish them all every blessing for this new chapter in their
lives! A time of music and dance followed, enjoyed by all. Here are a few photos of the
event. 
FACT-CHECK
ASYLUM SEEKERS are people who have left their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a
particular social or political group, and have formally applied for asylum in another country. While their application is being considered, they are not allowed to work and depend on a minimal Home Office financial support, equivalent to around £ 5 a day.  The
decision-making process is extremely tough and many people’s claims are rejected.

REFUGEES are asylum seekers whose application for asylum has been successful and who have been granted leave to remain in the UK.  Refugees are allowed to work.
 
AN EVENING OF MUSIC AND CAROL SINGING
This event was held on Saturday 30th November and hosted by Cecil Jones, helped by members of Open Doors’ Diversity Music Group and of the Hull Afro Drums Beats. Some of
our asylum seekers were introduced to British Christmas Carols for the first time and really enjoyed the experience! It was the first of this year’s Open Doors’ Christmas celebrations. 
NETWORKING AND INTERACTING WITH LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
‘Rooted in Hull’
On October 3rd a representation from Open Doors participated in a multicultural
get-together held by Rooted in Hull to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of our city. An
amazing variety of food was provided from 12 different countries: Kurdistan, Iran, Turkey,
Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Algeria, Albania, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Ghana. The day
was very well attended and enjoyed by all, despite the wet and cold weather!
 
Beverley Art Gallery
On October 18th Bazyan, our Special Events team leader, and his wife Bayan Mama
attended a lecture at Beverley Art Gallery by well-known writer Christy Lefteri (in the red
jumper in the photo) on her journeys and visits to refugee camps in preparation for her
recent and very successful book The Beekeeper of Aleppo, which came out in May this
year and has already been translated in 22 languages.
Neighbourhood Awards Ceremony
On October 22nd at a Neighbourhood Network Awards event running at the Guildhall, Open Doors was nominated for two awards: “Project of the Year 2019” and “Voluntary Group of
the Year 2019″. In the photos you can see Bazyan, Bayan Mama, Sahar and Bashir enjoying the evening with the Lord Mayor of Hull and other officials.
Hull International Freedom Carnival Awards
On October 31st  at the Royal Hotel an event was organized by the Freedom Festival to give awards to the organizations who had contributed to the Hull International Carnival in
September this year. Open Doors received an award for its contribution. 
EXHIBITION
 Hull History Centre
Worship Street, Hull, HU2 8BG4th Dec 2019 – 18th Jan 2020
The Banyamulenge
Community invite you to attend their Exhibition at the Hull History Centre.

SPECIAL EVENTS:

Video Screenings 
19 Dec at 1pm – 15 Jan at 2pm

Storytelling
19 Dec at 2pm – 15 Jan at 2pm

Traditional song and dancing
18 Dec at 2.30pm – 16 Jan at 1pm
 
Members of the Banyamulenge community escaped from persecution on ethnic grounds
from the North East Democratic Republic of Congo where they originate from, and were
re-settled with full refugee status here in Hull, where they now live in safety and security.
When they first arrived they benefitted from the services offered by our organization, and
Open Doors warmly encourages all newsletter readers to visit the exhibition which displays fascinating artefacts. The Banyamulenge were originally cattle herders and the majestic
cows from this part of Africa are central to their culture and traditions.
 
POETRY CORNER
One of our asylum seekers, Ulivije from Albania, who attends the English classes offered by Open Doors, has written a few poems based on her life experiences and using her newly
acquired language skills!  This is one of them, and more will appear in future newsletters.
The little girl

A girl was born
in a countryside,
She grew up healthy 
with her family beside.
 
She had a happy life
She was happy I mean,
But everything changed
When she was fifteen.
 
She had lots of desires
And lots of dreams,
She tried her best
To be very keen.
 
All those dreams were
Broken like a bone,
Because her mother 
Left her alone.
 
Her mother to her
Had given her word,
That she would send her 
To the “best school in the world”.
 Do you want to know,
Did this happen in that way?
No, because an illness 
Took her mother away.
 
Most of the time
This girl was left alone,
She became a lady.
Just a few months ago
She looked like a tomboy.
 
She had to work hard
To keep the house safe,
She had to grow up fast
And to be so brave.
 
Even though she was a teen
She was aware
That she couldn’t think anymore 
Of those dreams of hers.
 
Since that time
She hates the month of May,
This month took her mother
And her dreams away.
 
Are you curious to know? Who was she?
I want to tell you, it was me.
COMING UP AT PAMC
(Princes Avenue Methodist Church)
Father Christmas Party
Thursday 19th December, 11am-1pm


Father Christmas will bring presents for our clients and their children!
 New Year Lunch
Thursday 9th January, 12-1.30pm 


Our clients are invited to our annual Christmas lunch which will take place after our usual
drop-in session.
WHERE YOUR DONATIONS GO
The money Open Doors receive is used to finance food parcels and lunches for over 100
people every Thursday, and a weekly handout of £ 10 to destitute asylum seekers. Open
Doors also provides access to a team of Red Cross trained volunteers (who help them with claims, immigration issues etc.), transport for asylum seekers to go to their periodic Police checks, befriending and advocacy, second-hand clothes, help in finding second-hand
furniture and house-hold items, English, Maths and Music classes, training sessions on
various topics, a voluntary Interpreting and Translation service, access to computers,
opportunity to work in an allotment, various group activities (women’s craft, a bicycle club,
football and other sports on demand). At present we are supporting 28 ‘destitute’ asylum
seekers, whose asylum claim was rejected by the Home Office; the financial support they
were receiving from the government has been withdrawn and they are struggling daily for
food, accommodation and clothing.
 WHAT YOU CAN DO We are very grateful for any one-off donations; however, although they are very welcome, a regular monthly donation, especially if gift-aided, helps a lot more!

If you can, and if you feel our work is important, please consider setting up a standing
order with your bank: we are desperate for funds to support the vital activities of Open
Doors.
 Please donate now. CLICK HERE to see how you can do it. 
HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
FROM ALL OF US AT OPEN DOORS!


The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the
shadow of death a light has dawned.
For unto us a child is born!
(Isaiah 9: 2, 6)
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