Introducing: Refugee Society

Louisa Wicks and Abbie Cheeseman speak to Poppy Faithfull, President of Royal Holloway’s newest society.

The newly ratified Refugee Society is the newest of the political and ideological societies on campus. According to Faithfull, it “provides students with the opportunity to help aid and support the refugee community”.

She tells us that “an unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced to flee from their home. Among them 22.5 million are refugees and over half are under the age of 18”. These are the highest levels of displacement on record and the society are aiming to support in any way that they can.

Refugee Society’s primary aim is to make a difference. Faithfull tells us that Royal Holloway is “lucky enough to have a student body that is truly passionate about the refugee crisis and this society allows them to turn that passion into action”.

Their first society fundraiser of the year – Living Below the Poverty Line – is going to involve students living on just £1 a day for 5 days. The steely determination of these students will raise money for the important work that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees do. The society explains that “the UN agency stands up for the rights and well-being of more than 60 million refugees and displaced people worldwide”.

Their fundraising efforts do not stop there. They are also teaming up with Bloody Good Period, a charity who provide sanitary supplies for asylum seekers, refugees and those who can’t afford them. They are also in contact with a refugee centre in Calais who need urgent food supplies to serve over 2,500 meals a day. On top of this, they are collaborating with Music Society to host an evening of live music at The Packhorse in aid of refugees.

#WithRefugees is the primary campaign that the society are supporting this year. The global campaign urges governments to ensure that every refugee child gets an education, that every refugee family has somewhere safe to live and that every refugee can work and support their families.

For those who are interested in learning more about the refugee crisis, the society are hosting a number of guest speakers in the coming months. They are kicking the series off with Royal Holloway’s own PIR lecturer and co-founder of Refugees’ Say, Dr Will Jones. They are also bringing the founder of the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA) to campus to talk about the hardships and challenges that refugee women face. The events will be free for Refugee Society members and just a small donation to a refugee charity for non-members.

If you would like to hear more about the society, you can contact them at refugeesociety@su.rhul.ac.uk or on the RHULRefugeeSociety Facebook page.