With many Ukrainian people fleeing the horror and danger caused by the Russian military invasion of their country this week, the Bedales community is coming together to offer practical help to them and other displaced people in two key ways – and we need your support with these:
A collection of essential items to deliver to Ukrainians arriving in Poland
A day dedicated to supporting refugees next Tuesday in partnership with the Rural Refugee Network
Collection of essential items
We are contributing to a collection being delivered to Ożarów, Poland near the Ukraine border. The following items are particularly needed:
First aid supplies such as paracetamol, plasters, bandages
Please drop off donated items to school receptions as soon as possible. Our first collection of goods will be this Sunday, which will enable delivery in the region 24 hours later. We will then arrange further regular collections as necessary.
Bedales has links with the Ożarów community through our own staff. You can read more about how they are supporting refugees here.
A day of support for refugees – Tuesday 8 March
Bedales holds regular community days when members of the school community work together to make a tangible difference to other people’s lives. It is timely that next Tuesday’s Powell Day is dedicated to the Rural Refugee Network (RRN). The RRN has supported refugees arriving in the UK from Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan, and it is currently calling for the government to offer a safe haven to people from Ukraine, whom they are poised to support.
Our Powell day comprises:
Talk from Gulwali Passarlay about his year long journey from Afghanistan to the UK
Syria to Steep walk in a day – students will walk a 12 km circuit in Queen Elizabeth Country Park with their tutor. Collectively we will cover the 4,000 km distance from Idlib to Steep – there’s still time to support the campaign by donating here.
Art Sale – A fundraising sale of artwork from established and emerging artists in the Quad from 6-9 pm. Please come along and buy on the night. Book your free ticket here.
By Abi Wharton, Head of Global Perspectives, Geography and Politics
On Tuesday 8 March, the Bedales community will be off timetable for our termly community day – this term being Powell Day. It feels particularly important that we spend this day as a community after the tribulations of recent years – coming together to raise awareness and vital funds for those that continue to need support.
We are very excited to give you more information about our collective initiative to walk, as a school, the distance from Northern Syria to Steep in a single day (roughly 4500km). In tutor and year groups, Bedales students and staff will be walking a 10km route around Queen Elizabeth Country Park to raise sponsorship for the Rural Refugee Network, our charity partner. We are encouraging all tutor groups to raise at least £250 in sponsorship but encouraging some healthy competition by awarding prizes to both the tutor group and year group that raise the most in sponsorship!
Students will be able to give family and friends a URL allowing you to donate directly to their team via Give Penny, our chosen fundraising platform. We really hope you will be able to contribute to this worthwhile cause where both you and the students will be able to see exactly where these vital funds go. We would also be delighted if parents would like to participate on the walk itself.
I am also delighted that Gulwali Passarlay, a dear friend of the school who delivered the Global Awareness Lecture in 2017 will be joining us for the day to speak to the students and join us on the walk. Gulwali’s story is inspiring. It includes a 12-month odyssey across Europe to escape war-torn Afghanistan, arrival in the UK and graduation from one of the UK’s top universities. Gulwali Passarlay is a speaker, activist and former refugee who arrived in Britain in 2007, aged just 12, after being separated from his brother during his travels. His best-selling book, The Lightless Sky, is an account of his lone travels as a child including a 50-hour sea crossing in cramped quarters with more than 100 other refugees. At the time of the lecture, I said: “Gulwali’s resilience, determination and humour is a lesson to us all. He has faced unimaginable hardship and had his childhood taken away. Despite this, he bears no grudges, and has instead dedicated his life to raising awareness and improving the lives of millions of people around the world.” I think this message remains important as we look forward to 8 March – and I have certainly quoted the above when students have been a little reluctant about walking 10km!
By Sage Bidwell, Lola Mackay and Emily Kavanagh, Block 5
We are a group of Block 5 students who are doing a Global Awareness project on homelessness and poverty. We have linked the aims of our project with the annual Harvest Festival food collection and plan to hold a food collection week at Bedales from 4-10 October.
We are working with the Petersfield Food Bank to provide food and hygiene products for the homeless and would be grateful for any donations. If you would like to donate, you can view a list of items requested by the Petersfield Food Bank below. However, any donations are a great help to our local community. Our collection point is based outside G1 (the ground floor Geography classroom in the atrium). If you have any questions, please email us via Abi Wharton (email@example.com). Thank you for your support.
Tinned or packet custard
Tinned rice pudding
Long life milk
Cup a soup
Treats (chocolate bars, nuts, crisps, etc)
Toiletries (including sanitary products)
By Rose Purves, Turi Spens and Charles Walls, Block 5
As part of a Block 5 BAC Global Awareness project, we are researching the refugee crisis. We are partnering with the Rural Refugee Network (RRN), a local charity whose mission is to help bring refugees to safety in the UK and, once here, to help them successfully resettle into their new communities. The RNN offers grants for education, training and employment to families and young people placed across Hampshire.
We will be raising money by planning, putting on and hosting a charity art show for the RRN in late November. Our target is to raise £25,000 to aid them in their vital work. We would be grateful for any donations – please do speak with family or friends and let us know if you are able to donate any pieces of work for the show and email us via Abi Wharton (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you in advance for your support.
Thank you so much to all who joined in our #SyriatoSteep challenge in this final week before the half term break. We have been overwhelmed by the support and energy out there. All contributions helped us head closer to the target – we thought covering the 4,066 km distance from Idlib to Bedales in a week would be a big challenge, but with your help, we had it nailed on Wednesday. Today is our final day and we have already surpassed 6,000 kms.
At time of writing, £5,029 (including Gift Aid) has been raised for the Rural Refugee Network and John Badley Foundation, two charities helping transform the lives of people who face severe challenges, and many of whom are in extremely vulnerable situations. Thank you to those who have already generously supported. To mark our successful endeavour, we are suggesting a ‘victory lap’ and final push on the fundraising, so do please consider re-living your favourite run/walk/cycle, and send a photo to share with others (to email@example.com). And if you haven’t got round to donating, there is still time to do so here. Listen to brief videos about the two charities here: RRN; JBF.
Home from Home is a solo exhibition of British painter Alex Rennie’s work at The Frestonian Gallery in London inspired by and in aid of Bedales-supported charity the Rural Refugee Network.
The exhibition explores the theme of a British welcome in relation to the Syrian migrant crisis. A percentage of sales proceeds will be donated to both the Rural Refugee Network and it’s partner charity Children on the Edge. The charities rehouse Syrian refugees in the UK as well as educating displaced Syrian refugee children residing in the Lebanese refugee camps.
Rather than portray explicit scenes of refugee life, Rennie has taken an alternative visual approach. The artist held a number of interviews and workshops with Syrian refugees and children that have been resettled in the UK by the Rural Refugee Network. The resulting artworks are informed by these testimonies as well as discussions with volunteers from the Rural Refugee Network about the successes they have had and the challenges they face.
Among the imagery featured are teacups, sandcastles, flowers and flags. Visual references that are quintessentially British, but also have universal appeal. The paintings were created to reflect the notion of empowerment: that of the refugees themselves, but also empowering the public to take action and to play a part in tackling the worst humanitarian crisis of our generation.
The exhibition runs for two days only, 24 and 25 September 2019 at the Frestonian Gallery in Notting Hill West London.