Birds of Compassion

The Migration team were joined by Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, when they delivered messages of compassion to refugees and asylum seekers in Coventry this week.

Nearly 200 of the birds were produced and were handed out to Refugee families attending an English Learning Programme at the Muslim Resources Centre coordinated by the city council’s Migration Team.

The Birds symbolise freedom and migration and showcase our solidarity with people fleeing war and persecution.

Some have also been displayed online.

The idea formed part of Refugee Week held last month. The Week is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

Cllr Welsh said: “The Birds of Compassion is a great way for people to make a simple gesture.

“We will never feel the trauma that people have been through, but we can show empathy and a desire to show we care.

“The migration team have an important role in supporting refugees and asylum seekers and this reflects a lot of the values of Coventry people. As a diverse and welcoming city, the messages capture the sentiments that a lot of us have.”

The Migration Team works with statutory and voluntary organisations across the city to help improve the lives of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.

Peter Barnett, Head of Libraries and Migration said “We aim to break down barriers and allow newly arrived members to become an integral part of Coventry – and wider – society, we focus on supporting them to find employment, enter education and improve their English language skills, both written and verbally.

“Refugee Week is a chance to highlight that work, and the stories of those people who are central to the week.”

Below are comments from refugees asked “What it means to know that people care?”

“Since I arrived in Coventry, I have not seen any instance of racism. This is a multicultural city. People are very respectful towards each other. People are very welcoming towards the migrants. I feel happy here.”

 

“Coventry is a very peaceful and calm city. We see different cultures and people from different religions. People respect all religions. I see lot of opportunities for job here and I am looking forward to those.”

 

“Coventry is the best city according to me. I lived in London before moving to Coventry. I like Coventry more than London. There is lot of integration for Muslims. There are many mosques here. We are happy to find a good Afghan community to socialise and integrate this makes us feel home. Coventry residents are good.”

 

“Coventry is a great place. There is freedom. No one is bothered what colour or what clothes you are wearing. There is no racism. No one questions about wearing burka or hijab. There is access to plenty of halal food as compared to other cities. Not just us, our children are also very happy here. They enjoy the freedom. We faced racism when we were in hotel in Oxford. People questioned about hijab. We had to explain them this is by choice not compulsion or pressure. No one asks this to us here. That’s the beauty of Coventry.”

 

“In Coventry we found Madrasa, place for religious study. This is a good opportunity for our children to learn Islam and our culture. We are happy about it. No one questions or enquire us about hijab or our attire here. This is comforting for us.”

“I like Coventry and it is a beautiful city. There are many halal shops, and we get our kind of food easily. We have found lot of shops to buy clothes from our culture. I can learn English in college here. GP support is very well. I feel safe here.”

Published: Friday, 14th July 2023