If you missed our Sanctuary on Sea Launch in June, celebrating Refugee Week 2015, please have a read of the wonderful words prepared by ‘Tasting my Future’ star Genet:
Dear guests, residents of the beautiful city of Brighton and Hove. My name is Genet Hailu Endashew. I am a refugee from Ethiopia.
I wish to start my short speech by saying thank you for coming here today to celebrate the annual Refugee Week, which is an important event for us refugees and organisations supporting us. This is an occasion used to promote positive images of refugees and to celebrate the valuable contribution they can make to the society they live in.
It is very difficult for me to express in words how happy I feel now. But I will try it is a big personal achievement for me to stand in front of you today and share my life experience. This was possible because of the self-confident I developed since I arrived here 8 years ago. I also know very well that it is because of the protection and all rounded support I have received from the British public and government that I feel positive about my life and hope to improve myself more in the future.
I remember how lonely and hopeless I was feeling before I got the chance to resettle here. I also remember how much happy, but at the same confused I was when I know I was going to come here. First of all I have left my country against my will to save my life. I then suffered a lot along with many other refugees living in a camp in Kenya for many years. The idea of going to Britain was another journey to a country which I have no idea what like expect.
I realised how lucky I was only after I arrived here. As far I am concerned I did not face any problem in this country. And this is a great opportunity for me to say thank you for individuals and organisations that have always been very helpful and provided me with everything I needed to feel like a human being. I feel free and enjoy the sweet taste of democracy.
I feel sad at the same time because I know how many people in Africa and other parts of the world are trying to run away from their own people. I can not stop crying when I see in television many young people from country and other African countries trying to escape from tyranny and poverty but lose their lives before they get anywhere safe. This is what is happening every day today. I hope the people of Britain and other European countries will continue helping desperate asylum seekers to be safe and use their diplomatic and economic influence to bring peace and democracy in the countries where these fundamental human rights are missing.
For other moving stories from refugee women in Brighton and Hove please check out the Sylvie Collier and Cathy Maxwell film “Tasting my Future” that was screened at our launch.