we are all just human beings

Every year 29,000 asylum seekers flee persecution and destruction in their homeland and arrive here in the UK. They make a perilous and often fatal journey because they are desperate and have no choice. Have you ever had a nightmare where you’re stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea and there’s no safe place to go? Well, we can wake up from it, they can’t.

They leave their country, their home, where they may have been persecuted, threatened, tortured for something that’s just part of who they are – their beliefs, their political stance, their sexuality, ethnic group or just standing up for what’s right. They may have been caught up in turmoil and violence and want to protect their family. Sometimes their only choice is to escape. Ask yourself, if you were in that situation with your family, what decision would you make?

They brave a hard, dangerous and dehumanising journey which, in reality, many don’t survive, to reach the UK – my country.

When they arrive they are often met with hostility, prejudice and a system that seems set up against them.

Why is that? Why are we so convinced that these people have come here to take something from us? Do we ever consider what they might have to give? Why do we assume that they’re here because it’s an easy option? Maybe it’s their only option. Why are we convinced that they’re all bad and they’re all the same? Is that because we only listen to the lies the media tell us and are too afraid of what we don’t know to find out for ourselves?

Mark, Sarah and lots of volunteers run The Sanctuary project at The Gap Centre in Newport city centre (South Wales). They’re providing constant support and a sense of community and belonging to all asylum seekers. They invited me and my family to go along for the day, help out and spend some time with everyone.

First Mark took us on a tour of Newport, we could hardly walk ten steps without Mark stopping to chat to someone he knew from the centre, shaking hands, introducing us, asking them if they were coming for food later.

Once back, we were put to work moving tables, sorting through donations of books and cleaning bathrooms. We then all sat and chatted and ate and played card games before heading off to play badminton.

The whole time, we were made so welcome by everyone. Whether it was the guy who made the effort to teach me how to serve in badminton, even though I was useless (I got it down to a fine art in the end), the guy who took great pleasure in giving my brother Evan a traditional Kurdish haircut, everyone who sat and talked and made an effort to engage with us even though we didn’t always speak the same language, everyone who told us about their lives, their families and their culture. Even though you may feel you already know it, the whole afternoon just made us realise that we really are all just human beings – we all feel pain, we can all smile, we all have hopes and dreams.

I genuinely feel like I made friends. And I had so much fun, playing Uno and badminton and hanging out with all these people of all different cultures and backgrounds. Since when did different become bad? Different is amazing. We can learn so much from different. Different is just…different – not better or worse.

Thank you so much to Mark for inviting us and for telling us about all the incredible work that The Sanctuary do and for letting us get involved. Also thanks to everyone who welcomed us and made us feel like part of the family. All the best to all of you for the future ❤

What are your thoughts? Have you ever found yourself with a different perspective on something after spending time with people you wouldn’t usually hang out with?

 

 

Gracie’s Guide To The 2017 UK General Election Results

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Hey there guys!

As some of you know, I have a job as a researcher for the inspirational Liv, the young creator of theCramm, a movement aimed at empowering and informing today’s youth. You can read more about my role and theCramm here.

Today, I sent Liv an in-depth guide to my country’s recent General Election results. I wanted theCramm’s readers and subscribers to understand what’s been happening and be inspired to try to make a change.

I’ve tried to include a bit of humour and sarcasm and I hope that you’ll all enjoy and learn from this short guide.

Please do note that it contains some of my personal opinions and that I do not wish to offend anyone. I welcome different ideas and thoughts and am happy to listen to others and discuss anything with you all!

Okay, so here goes:

WHAT HAPPENED?
The UK General Election of 2017 (which sounds really grand and pompous, but actually ended up in an enormously embarrassing mess for certain people) came out with some surprising results. In short, we ended up with what’s called a ‘hung parliament’.
A ‘hung parliament’ is when no party gets enough seats to technically ‘win’ the election. 
HOW?
There are two things you can choose to believe about how these results came about:
1) All the parties were just too AWESOME to choose one!
2) Um, all the parties were just too RUBBISH to choose one! 
I know which one I’ve got my money on. 
You could choose to be hopeful and optimistic about these results, believing that something good will come out of this, or you could feel worried and confused about the political chaos that our country is dealing with right now. Again, I know which best describes my feelings. 
SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
There are many options for what could happen now. Our government is currently completely out of action, as no one is rightfully in power. 
Theresa May, our former prime minister and current leader of the Conservative Party, has lost her winning majority and probably wishes she’d never suggested a ‘snap election’ in the first place. It was expected that she would win with flying colours and confirm that she was a strong leader to take us through Brexit, but she failed to reach the minimum amount of seats to be re-elected.
Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party won the votes of a lot of young people, coming a close second in the polls. I think that this is because young people are more concerned with change that our older generations. Mr Corbyn certainly offers drastic change.  He is now calling for Mrs May to step down and resign. 
Realistically, the chances of becoming prime minister for these two party leaders are high. They are the still the main candidates. 
They now have the options of either going to our monarch, The Queen, and getting permission to form a minority government or….. Hey, wait! What exactly is a ‘minority government’? 
A ‘minority government’ is where the party in power has the most seats, but less than half of the total. It means that the government is also made up of MPs from other parties, meaning they also get a say in running the nation.
Other options include a coalition between parties or one main party attempting to go it alone. We’ll have to wait and see what will happen. One thing’s for sure though, the future of our country looks pretty perilous. 
What are your thoughts on these results? Did you find my guide helpful? Amusing? Do you have an opinion on the political events that happened? Comment discussions especially welcome! Thanks for reading, people!

The Writer’s Ink Challenge

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Hey guys! I was nominated by the amazing Saanvi @ One Notebook,One Pen And Me for The Writing Ink Challenge. So thanks so much to her!

I am really excited to do this as writing is my main passion in life. As a writer I extremely dislike clichés (anyone else?), but I can honestly say that writing is one thing I couldn’t live without. It is my way of expressing myself and being myself and I can’t imagine not being able to dig into my bank of inspiration and imagination and then into my vocabulary to find the right words to tell a story.

Now, onto the rules:

  • Thank the writer who nominated you (that’s you Saanvi, so much appreciation. It means the world!)
  • Answer the amazing writing-related questions. Cannot wait!
  • Nominate at least five writers/bloggers to do the tag. Warning: I know too many awesome people who would eagerly accept this challenge to nominate only five.

The Questions

When did you first start writing?

In all the photos of me growing up from a baby to a toddler to a kid to the thirteen year old I am now, you can never see my face. Why? Simply because it’s always stuck in a book. My love of words has fuelled my desire to write and I have been writing since I can remember. 

Have you always been interested in writing?

Yes, I have many other interests, but writing is the most important to me. Without it I don’t know what sort of person I’d be, it is so much a part of my personality, it fuels my confidence and it allows me to grow and be myself whilst doing something that feels like magic to me.

Why do you like writing?

My mind is filled with beautiful ideas, with characters good and evil and intriguing. My life is a story, a memory, an echo. I have to let it out onto paper or it will swallow me into its depths. No, I am its master, I will create it and then I will control it, not become a part of it. It is a part of me. 

I hope that makes sense for it is the reason writing is personally incredible for me. I also love it because it means I can share and connect with others, transport them into my world for a fleeting moment. Make them feel how I feel through the character. Show them things perhaps they never saw before.

What genre do you write in?

I think my style is quite unique. I enjoy to weave stories with a lot of emotion. I would say I mainly write realistic, yet creative fiction with poetry mixed in when I feel like it! 

Do you write poetry?

Yup! I love how something so short can be so powerful. I actually started my own campaign combining poetry with changing the world. I’m still looking for new participants so click here to find out more.

Have you ever written a story with a friend?

No, sadly not. I find the idea quite strange actually, it would certainly be a challenge. Has anyone else ever done this? 

How do you write your stories? First tense or second? Past tense or present?

I try to think of what will suit the piece, what will enhance it. I often write in the present tense, it is my go to form. Most of the time I just write what’s in my mind and see where it leads me. Someone once told me never to change tense during a piece of writing. Top tip there! 

Where do you see yourself writing-related in one month? One year? Ten years?

In one month I hope that I will have experienced many more things to write about and add to my ever-lasting bank of ideas. I hope to share many more with you all on this blog too!

In a year, I want to have met many other writers who I will be able to continue my wordy journey with. We’ll advise and support each other and exchange ideas and experiences.

Ten years is a long time to look ahead, but I know I’ll still be writing. Write on forever!!! 

Right, that’s done! Now for my nominees:

Rainbow Girl @ The Fabulous Rainbow Blog

Aqsa @ Aqsa Says What?

Little Helper @ Thoughts In Life

Elsie L.M.C

Emma @ Book Emma

Sumzoe @ The Unshackled Thoughts Of A Dreamer

Mintie Freshie

Adoma @ Girl From Ghana

Grace @ From The Tip Of Grace’s Pen

Grace @ The Girl Upstairs

Mirra @ A Young Writer’s Dream

Okay, I hope all of you guys are able to do the challenge and enjoy it! I also want to remind all you fellow writers of my writing competition that you have until May 1st to enter! Please, please, please submit a piece! I can’t wait to reveal the winners, but first I need more entries from you, wonderful writerly bloggers! Click here now to read more and submit your entry.

Goodbye for now and looking forward to reading all your posts!

Gracie

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