What is Essex STAR?
Essex STAR (Student Action for Refugees) is part of a network of student groups with common aims such as volunteering, campaigning for the quality of life and rights of refugees, and educating people on refugee issues and asylum in the UK. We are affiliated with Student Action for Refugees (the UK charity) and we have a close working relationship with them.
We formed a Conversation and Crafts Club for refugee women in partnership with Refugee Action Colchester!
The goals of this club are to help improve English, provide a chance to socialize and get creative with crafts; so far we have learnt to knit, make jewellery and we're now moving on to painting!
Another successful volunteering project that we carried out in 2019/2020 was hosting a pop-up cafe in Colchester where Syrian and Sudanese food was served; it was an invaluable opportunity to meet refugee women and hear their stories.
This year we will be launching a new volunteering project called the 'Buddy Scheme'. This will involve partnering trained STAR volunteers with students on campus that identify as refugees/asylum seekers with the goal of easing their transition to campus and offering general support. If you're interested in this scheme and would like to be trained for the role then please contact us at EssexStarSociety@gmail.com.
Campaigning is at the core of our society and we have several campaigns that we want to promote this year!
- The 'Lift the Ban' campaign which aims to lift the ban of working for people that seek refuge in the UK.
- We've also campaigned for #EqualAccess for higher education so that refugees here are equal to everyone else on campuses across the country.
- The 'Safe Routes Save Lives' campaign aims to ease the refugee crisis by allowing people seeking safety to come to the UK legally and safely - this would reduce unnecessary deaths and allow families to be reunited.
To educate people on refugee issues we will host many fun events throughout the year by hosting movie nights, book clubs and talks. We will focus our topics of education primarily on refugee issues as well as topics of misinformation which can lead to harmful activism rather than helping those in need.
Previously we've held a talk on period poverty and held many discussions on issues such as the 'Lift the Ban' campaign.
We also recognize the importance of taking care of our mental health & having fun so we will be hosting socials throughout the year! You'll be able to join in on quiz nights, picnics, and trips to local restaurants (COVID guidance permitting).
If you'd like to get in contact with us then please go on our social media linked above or email us at EssexStarSociety@gmail.com.