Manchester is going the extra mile this year by offering its citizens a whole month of international celebrations culminating in the nationally celebrated Refugee Week.
Interest groups, charitable organisations, educational institutes and museums to name some are contributing to a series of mostly free events to encourage refugee awareness and integration.
Some of the first to kick-start the celebrations was the group Migrants Supporting Migrants with a language party last weekend at Oxford Road’s International Society.
Organiser Sandra Rice said: “It’s a great opportunity to not only learn more about different cultures and the origins of diversity in Manchester, but to learn about ourselves too.”
The event, now in its third year, invites anyone and everyone to learn about immigrants, their countries of origin and sample the authentic food and music.
The Manchester based project is predominantly run by migrants to help support others understand and embrace our culture in their transition to Britain.
After two years living in Manchester, volunteer Jing Li, says her second home is a fantastic city full of diversity.
Refugee Week was established in 1998 as a response to the increasingly negative and hostile portrayal of refugees and asylum seekers in Britain throughout the 90s.
UK Coordinator, Almir Koldzic, said the ‘creative and exciting festival’ has grown organically into an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of refugees to the UK.
“By coming to the events people can not only pay tribute to the courage, resilience, and creativity of refugees living in Britain today, but also encounter some truly special performances and perhaps get inspired to find new and more creative ways of bringing different people in their community together,” he said.
“There is so much more work to be done in creating a more open and inclusive society that is more welcoming and supportive of refugees and various forms of diversity that they bring to the UK.”
Over 400 events are expected to take place across the country, put together by hundreds of organisations and attracting thousands of people.
Refugee week runs from the 20 – 26 of June, bringing people together over music, literature, art, food and sports in Manchester alone.
For more information on events and how you can get involved both nationally and in Manchester visit: www.refugeeweek.org.uk