Felicia Hughes is a volunteer at JRS UK
What is your relation to JRS?
I got involved with JRS through the Hosting scheme. Now I’m volunteer at the day center. When the day center was closed, due to Covid, I used to give emotional support to a small number of our friends, calling them every week. but I am hopeful that the day centre will re-open and we could restart face to face meeting. My relationship with JRS has continued through the pandemic with online morning prayer which I have found very helpful.
What values matter most in your life?
Social justice. I hate the way refugee friends are portrayed as a problem rather than as individuals in difficulty who need support. We live in an imperfect world but we are all able to take small actions that can improve the lives of others.
How do you want to contribute to your community?
I want to support those who are on the margins of our society. I prefer to live in a community that looks outward and welcomes the stranger.
What is the change you want to see in the UK/EU
I want to see displaced people recognised as human beings of equal worth and treated with respect. At JRS I have met many people whose lives have been put on hold for year after year. They are people with value and our community would be the richer for allowing them to contribute to it
Why do you think the work of JRSUK is relevant today?
I have met many refugee friends at the day centre. They all place a high value on JRS and the support it gives. London is a hard place to be if you are by yourself and homeless and jobless. JRS reaches out a friendly hand of support.
JRS also has a strong mission to advocate for our friends. Legislation can be increasingly unkind, impractical and restrictive, and JRS confronts this.
How does your work/activity contribute to the JRS mission to accompany, serve and advocate for those who are forcibly displaced?
It is important that the daycentre is a place of welcome. People may arrive stressed, cold, hungry but they will receive kindness,a warm welcome, a hot meal.My role, like all the volunteers, is to support our friends and give them a space where they can relax and feel safe.
What does JRS UK mean to you?
JRS UK is a place of welcome and friendship and that is as true for me as for anyone else.