“You’re a small school with a very big heart.” – Kirsty Williams, 19 June 2017.
We are very proud that Cradoc Primary School is the first primary school in Wales to be recognised as a School of Sanctuary. Kirsty Williams, Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire and Education Secretary presented the award on Monday 19th June 2017. The award recognises the fantastic work of pupils and teachers over the last year to welcome asylum seekers and refugees in Wales.
Schools of Sanctuary is an initiative to celebrate the good practice of schools who welcome asylum seeking and refugee families into their school community and foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.
At Cradoc, we learned about the reality of being a refugee or asylum seeker, with support from local community group, Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees. We then organised an Away Day for people seeking sanctuary living in Swansea, facilitating transport to our beautiful corner of Wales, an area that most asylum seekers and refugees would never get to see.
Kirsty Williams, Welsh Education Secretary, said: “As a School of Sanctuary, Cradoc Primary School has demonstrated some of the most important values in our society – showing compassion, promoting equality, and upholding inclusion. Their Welcome Away Day in January was a perfect example of the great work Cradoc has done and it is fantastic to have the school recognised.”
Rebecca Scott, Wales Cities of Sanctuary Co-ordinator, said: “The enthusiasm of the young people and staff at Cradoc Primary is an inspiration to us all. Their Away Day showed that you don’t have to have people seeking sanctuary living on your doorstep to provide a warm, Welsh welcome for people rebuilding their lives here. I hope that the activities at Cradoc Primary School and their new School of Sanctuary status will encourage other schools to engage in a similar welcome for all.”
Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees is part of a Wales-wide network of City of Sanctuary groups working with local organisations to foster a welcome for people seeking sanctuary. The City of Sanctuary vision is that wherever asylum seekers and refugees go, they will find welcome and understanding, and the opportunity to celebrate their diverse contributions to our society. Read more here: http://hbtsr.org.uk/2017/06/13/cradoc-primary-school-becomes-the-first-primary-school-in-wales-to-receive-school-of-sanctuary-award
See below the photos for some of the comments about our January Away Day. We thank everyone for their support with the :
CLOTHING AND TOILETRIES
From Cradoc School: Thanks to all involved from Cradoc School, those whom Cradoc school encouraged to help, all our wonderful supporters and our amazing and inspiring visitors who all together made this day so memorable.
From Wayne (UID): Well that was another great success
One gentleman on the bus was absolutely overwhelmed by the welcome when we arrived. The Algerian ladies were tearful on the bus they were so blown away by it all. All the bags were distributed and everyone left very happy indeed.
N from Pakistan: Its so lovely to see the countryside I’ve never seen Wales like this. The people are so nice and welcoming. I hope it’s sunny next time.
D from Nigeria: The trip is so helpful for me mentally, coming here and meeting friendly people really helps me feel positive when usually I feel lonely and down.
M from Sudan: The trip is so nice, I thank the people so much, my daughter has wonderful face painting. The donations of clothes is so helpful for us, it saves us money that we can use on other things. If any of these wonderful people ever come to Swansea I would like to return their amazing hospitality.
S from Pakistan: I had a really good day playing football. I’m wet, muddy and very happy. It is so nice to see a different place. It was very good for our children, they did cooking and face painting and music. For one day we had a holiday and we didn’t sit at home worrying.
N from Algeria: I’m so happy to see a different and beautiful place. My kids have done so many things, they enjoyed making pottery and face painting, the food was so delicious and healthy. We have clothes and food to take home, this helps so much because it saves us much money. Life can be difficult away from our home country but we felt like we were with family the moment we arrived.
A from Sudan: Many thanks to HBTSR/UID and the people of Cradoc for hosting us and generous support. I and my family had a lovely day and fun as well, and the children resisted to leave the village!
The Swansea Crew: Hello all you folks at Hay Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees, I have copied the letter I have sent to Cradoc School thanking them for the fantastic day. I just want to add our thanks to you all, for any involvement you had and to say how wonderful it was to see so many of you there today. I did not have the chance to speak with you all, but it is so reassuring to see so many supporters,who are now becoming familiar faces. It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with Unity in Diversity and yourselves. We look forward to seeing you soon…The Swansea Crew!
Maria, Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group (SBASSG): Hello, my name is Maria and I am a volunteer with Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group (SBASSG). I had the privilege today, of joining our friends to enjoy a wonderful day hosted by Cradoc Primary School. It was a fantastic day that will remain in the hearts of our friends (and indeed us) for a very long time.
It is difficult to articulate what your generosity and friendship means to these people. We see them, and many others, in the same position on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. We are aware of the isolation, chronic anxiety and sadness they experience. Yet, whilst trying to provide for their basic needs, we are often unable to give them the time and the ‘treats’ that you provided today.
On the journey home, so many say they feel inadequate in expressing their appreciation and the word ‘thank you’ does not convey how much the day meant to them.
I am myself, overwhelmed by the number of people who devoted so much time planning and organising this day. I am aware,that there were probably some people who were not able to attend today, who also had some part in this. We know that the amount of delicious wholesome food provided today, does not appear on the tables without a lot of shopping, preparation and cooking. We know that the dishes and pans have to be washed up, and that the kitchen and school has to be returned to a work place by tomorrow morning. I am hesitant to mention any names for fear of missing someone out. I think I would probably be safe thanking Beth and every other person who contributed to the success of today. You made a lot of troubled people, miles away from their homes, families and friends welcome. They loved the food, appreciated the friendship and warmth extended to them and the amazing range of activities provided that gave them all a chance to forget their troubles for a few hours. The alternative on a rainy Sunday afternoon is bleak.
SBASSG works closely with another Swansea group led by the wonderful Wayne Yare who also joined the day with some of the volunteers . The name of this group is Unity in Diversity – a phrase which could describe today aptly.
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much from all of us, and we hope to meet you all again sometime.
Saba: Thank you very much for your hospitality and for your warm welcome- it was fabulous day. Everyone had a great fun, wonderful activities for children’s keep them busy and happy. We are really appreciate your kindness and love Hope to see you all soon.
Margaret: I just want to congratulate you on organising such a marvellous day! A very big ‘Thank you’ to you, to all the staff and to the school families and helpers. Please pass my thanks on to all concerned. It was truly wonderful. The activities, the warm welcome and the many activities all worked to give our refugee friends a day that they will long remember. For one family in particular, new to Swansea, this was a real ‘life-line’, enabling them to meet with others and forge new friendships. So – such a valuable day.
Sue: What a great day again and even poignant in the light of what is happening in America. I have had a number of new folk to the group say what energy and love there is within the group.
Brenda: I was so impressed with the wonderful organisation, numbers of helpers and obviously caring and inclusive ethos of the school. It made me proud of Wales and our community. So many commented upon it being not only a gesture but a practical demonstration of solidarity for those in need and against the nastiness coming out of the White House.
Kirsty: It was great to be able to join you for a little while this afternoon.