By Janet Haugh

IT’S Refugee Week – and this year’s theme is healing, but we know that healing can only truly begin when people feel safe both physically and emotionally.

Our charity, Right There, has a vision for a world where everyone has an equal chance to create a safe and supportive place to call home. Our colleagues and volunteers support individuals and families – some of whom are seeking refuge or asylum. We help people find that place where they feel safe; which means much more than just bricks and mortar. Home is about creating a sense of belonging and security; a place to be yourself or be with the people you love.

But for the young people, adults and families we support, many of them have lost or had to leave their loved ones due to war, violence and natural disasters. As well as living through these tragic and traumatic situations, some of the young people we support have arrived in this country on their own and knowing no one when they arrive – which is an unthinkable and terrifying experience for anyone to go through.

No matter who you are or where you’ve come from, our teams will walk alongside you at your own pace, giving the right support at the right times on your journey.

The first and most crucial step in our supported accommodation programmes is building trust with young people so they feel safe. Our tailored help ranges from emotional wellbeing and accessing healthcare and education, to living independently and making connections with other young residents. We also work closely with social services, police and translators to connect them to the wider community.

Nagad from Somalia is living at our supported accommodation in Glasgow. At the age of 21, Nagad left her family behind, as her efforts to stop the forced practice of FGM (female genital mutilation) made her a target for community leaders. Similarly, Issa fled Sierra Leone at the age of 17 after losing his family and being beaten for being gay, which the country’s government is against. Through their amazing fortitude and resilience, Nagad is now studying fashion and she dreams of becoming a designer, while Issa is learning English at college and is enjoying learning to cook and play football with other young people.

Refugee Week 2022 shines a light on the incredible human spirt and stories of people with determination and strength, just like Nagad and Issa. We all deserve an equal chance in life, and for those who are fleeing their homes – regardless of the situation – we are right there to help them on their journey to creating a safe and supportive place to call their home.

Janet Haugh is chief executive of Right There.