A speaker from HWSF will be giving a talk this weekend at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Hatfield as part of an interfaith service. The service begins at 6.30 pm and all are welcome. Come along to hear more about our work in the Welwyn Hatfield area.
It’s January but the HWSF gatherings continue.
On 2nd January, HWSF and the Welwyn Garden Quakers hosted a party for refugee families from Hatfield, East Herts and North Herts. The children were treated to face painting, craft activities, and games such as pass the parcel. HWSF volunteers mingled with the families, several of whom were related. The atmosphere was lovely with families catching up on news and delighted children trying on super hero masks.
New volunteers - including a translator and a mentor helping refugees prepare for the UK driving test - were on hand, getting to know the families better. The event was capped off with a slap-up tea and some energetic circle dancing.
I caught up with Enas, the young Syrian artist who has designed HWSF's Christmas cards over the past two years. She arrived in Hertfordshire a few years ago and has been involved with HWSF during that time. If you'd like to purchase a pack of the Christmas cards she's designed (pictured below), please e-mail Catherine@hwsf.org.uk with your address. The cards cost £5 for a pack of ten - all proceeds support the work of HWSF.
HWSF: Can you tell us about something inspiring your art right now?
Enas: When I left Syria after the war started, I travelled to Egypt. Seeing different cultures and new people inspired me.
HWSF: When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
Enas: Since I was a child I spent most of my holiday time drawing. I love it.
HWSF: Do you have a favourite subject for your art?
Enas: I prefer making portraits [of people].
HWSF: Have you seen any art works since you arrived in the UK that you loved?
Enas: I went to London and saw a lot of paintings by famous artists such as Picasso and van Gogh. I was really happy about that.
HWSF: What are you working on at the moment?
Enas: I am learning English and developing my IT skills. In five years, I hope to be finishing my studies, finding a good job, and drawing new things.
HWSF: What do you like to do in your free time?
Enas: I like walking, exploring new places and painting.
HWSF: Is there anything else that you’d like people to know about you?
Enas: Every refugee comes from a war, but they carry many dreams and the energy to start a new life. Thanks for giving us this opportunity.
HWSF: Thank you, Enas! We really appreciate you answering these questions and designing such beautiful cards for us.
Christmas card designs by Enas.
There was a lot of laughter, singing and walking at the HWSF Dacorum, Watford and Three Rivers holiday party on Sunday 9 Dec.
Seventy-five of us gathered in Little Gaddesden village hall at noon and quickly got the children involved with pass-the-parcel. Seems to be a new favourite game!
After a buffet lunch, volunteers and families split into two groups: some went to the playground across the fields, while about thirty went on a walk into the beautiful Golden Valley.
After an hour of exercise and beautiful scenery, we returned to well-earned cake and hot cups of tea.
We were treated to singing from Bahram and Rachid, and the children enjoyed musical statues and chairs!
It was a wonderful afternoon seeing friends and meeting new ones and a lovely way to celebrate the holiday season.
Many thanks to all the volunteers, particularly Julia Bolton, for all their hard work and help in making it a brilliant day!
[Text and photo by Liv Bolton]
An article in the Herts Advertiser about the afternoon tea for Syrian refugees hosted by St Albans Masorti Synagogue and HWSF can be read here:
On Wednesday, 13 November, please tune in to Radio Verulam - 92.6 FM or www.radioverulam.com - at 19.20 to hear an interview with Karim, one of the Syrian refugees who has been involved with HWSF, as well as with our chair, Irene Austin.
Irene will be discussing HWSF's work, and Karim will discuss his experiences moving to Hertfordshire from Syria. We're looking forward to these voices and stories being shared widely.
Don't worry if you miss it. We'll be posting the podcast here when it comes out. Or you can catch up on Sunday morning at 9.20 am.
Would you like your name in the credits of a short film about HWSF?
Founding member of HWSF Katie Seaton, who is also a media composer and sound designer, is leading production of a short film to tell our story and that of one of the refugees living here now.
The sections devoted to the refugee's story will be realised in drawn stop-motion animation by artist Rosie Wyllie.
Take a look at Katie's little video, explaining more about the project:
Any donations towards production, even of a very small amount, will be incredibly useful to make this film as good as we possibly can. If you would like to be part of this project, please visit the crowd-funding page here! Any publicity you can offer by sharing this with people who may be interested would also be really useful.
The full details about the artists and the project can be found here:
Herts Welcomes Syrian Families - the movie
Any further questions are welcome! Please email Katie at email@example.com
We’re selling Christmas Cards for 2018! These two beautiful images were designed by Enas, a young Syrian artist, whom some of you may have heard speak at our last AGM. We are selling packs of 10 cards with envelopes for £5 to raise funds for HWSF.
The cards have the wording ‘Best Wishes’ in both English and Arabic.
They are available in packs of 10 of a single design or a mixed pack with 5 of each.
If you’d like to buy some, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and include your address.
As well as raising money for HWSF, the sale of cards last year also generated wider interest in our work so we hope you’ll support us as generously as last year.
People arriving at the HWSF Sussed Quiz Night in Welwyn Garden City this past September mentioned not knowing what to expect. They had been to traditional quiz nights, but didn’t really know what ‘a quiz with a difference’ would be like. They’d come along to support our charity, but before long they were answering questions both silly and serious about their teammates, guessing their preferences on diverse topics such as whether they’d be better at writing a love letter or freestyle rapping, whether they’d prefer to walk through virgin snow or start reading a new book.
One of the participants commented: “It was such fun. I haven’t laughed so much in years.” The event was held at St Francis Church Hall, and freshly made Syrian food was served. Raffle prizes included different tipples, chocolates, gift vouchers and other donated items. The room was packed with eighty supporters and we were thrilled to raise close to a thousand pounds on the night with the support of Games to Get, the creators of Sussed.
Attendees commented that the quiz was a fantastic idea, and that they’d had an absolutely wonderful time. We were happy that everyone had a laugh, raised money to support refugee families in Hertfordshire, and walked away knowing a little bit more about the friends and family they’d brought along on the night.