Find out what hosts, guests and caseworkers have to say about Room for Refugees.
“Joanne, Mali and Eve are my family.”
Mohammed has been living with Joanne and her two daughters since May 2016. He is from Palestine but left as a child, living in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya. He has been in the UK for seven years, where he is seeking asylum, and was sleeping rough when Room for Refugees helped to find him a home.
We play cards a lot. Mohammed knows really good card tricks. What else do we do? We watch TV I guess. We play racing demon a lot, obviously. Eve, daughter of host Joanne, London
First time I come in here, I’ll never forget, Malila gave me a hug and speak with me. Eve is shy and Eve after two weeks spoke with me. And Joanne spoke with me. My dad is dead, my mother is dead [and] my sister. Joanne, Mali and Eve are my family. Mohammed, from Palestine
“Someone cares and that means everything just now.”
I have hosted people for varying lengths of time from a few days to five months. There have been some harrowing stories, including a couple from Afghanistan whose toddler died in an accident shortly before they came to stay. There was also a woman from Somalia who had seen some of her family blown to pieces. I have a supportive, loving family and it’s nice to share that with those who are far from their families Edith, retired Social Worker
My landlord told me I had two weeks to get out. I packed my clothes and asked the church to look after them. One evening I came home and found nothing there anymore, no bed, no mattress, nothing. I’ve been at Edith’s for 4 weeks now. We share a meal, sometimes go for a walk. Someone cares and that means everything just now. Françoise, student from Rwanda
“I’ve met some wonderful people who helped me along the way, and for that I will always be thankful.”
Hamid stayed with Alison, a primary school teacher and her husband Gen, an environmental consultant. They warmed to one another. Hamid stayed for a year and a half and describes them as “wonderful, inspirational human beings”.
Hamid jokes it’s like having parents and I suppose it’s a bit like having another son. We sit down quite often and eat together if we’re in the house at the same time. Alison, primary school teacher in Glasgow
When I think about the lost years, it does make me sad. But I’ve met some wonderful people who helped me along the way and for that I will always be thankful. My plan now is to complete my studies and graduate from university, then go on to be a nurse at Queen Elizabeth University hospital, where I have been offered a job once I qualify. Hamid, student from Iran
“He came to my mum’s for Christmas with my family.”
Malik is from Sierra Leone, but his father is a Belgian citizen and has applied for his son to be able to work in Europe. However, his documents became stuck at the Home Office, meaning he couldn’t work and became homeless. He stayed with Hena, a graphic designer, and Hugh, an architectural illustrator in south London.
It’s helped a lot. I don’t have to worry. It’s kind of given me a little bit of peace of mind. Malik from Sierra Leone
It was like having a housemate, We watched films together. He loves animation. We had lots of creative interests in common. I gave him one of my old skateboards. It’s how he commutes now. He came to my mum’s for Christmas with my family. They got him a jumper, I think. Hugh, architectural illustrator, London
“I actually feel more comfortable in my home now, because it’s being used.”
Grace from Malawi was homeless until she came to stay with Ken, an ordained priest, and his wife Karen, a librarian.
Hosting is the best thing anyone has done for me. When I was living on my own, I felt like I was always running, but now I have a place to stay, I am free. Grace, from Malawi
We’re at least as blessed to know people like Grace and to offer them comfort and security as they are in having those benefits. Ken, priest and civil engineer