Understanding refugees’ place in our society

Celebrating Cultures Conference.'Pictured L/R: Daniel Kamalu, Chair of RASA Peter Loosemore, Masoud Maddah

Celebrating Cultures Conference.'Pictured L/R: Daniel Kamalu, Chair of RASA Peter Loosemore, Masoud Maddah

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A fashion parade and music performance helped to build relationships between the city’s communities.

Wakefield’s Refugee and Asylum Seekers Advocacy (RASA) honoured the nationwide Refugee Week with a public conference which focused on the contribution that refugees and asylum seekers make to society.

The event, at the Elizabethan Gallery, on Brook Street, featured a number of entertainment acts including local refugee and Farsi singer, Jalil, and an African Fashion Parade, displaying African-inspired clothes created by fashion designer Victoria Kalale.

The Wakefield City of Sanctuary organisation took part in the event, promoting a scheme which aims to give schoolchildren a clearer idea of what an asylum seeker actually is, dispelling common myths and stereotypes.

One of the most important aims of the event was to help improve relations between refugees and asylum seekers and members of the public.

Bernard Adjenughure, former volunteer at RASA Wakefield and a speaker at the event, said both migrants and members of the public should try to learn from each other.

He added: “A migrant must be willing to learn the culture of the host country with an aim towards integration, without having to reject his native culture.”

Founder and manager of RASA Wakefield, Masoud Maddah, said he hoped last Thursday’s conference had helped to raise awareness of the work the charity does.

He added: “Many refugees speak only a small amount of English and are therefore frequently misunderstood within the community.

“RASA aims to assist with the integration process through a range of free services in the form of interpretation, support and advice.”

The Afemai Children’s Trust (ACT) charity also worked to promote cultural awareness at an event called Trading Traditions, at the same venue on Saturday.

For more information about RASA or how to get involved, visit www.rasa-wake
field.org.uk