It has been exactly one year since I made the decision to host. I remember it well, New Years Eve 2015 I spent my evening reading news articles about the refugees drowning in the Med trying to reach safety and I thought I just had to do something…
I had a spare room (although at the time it didn’t have a bed, just all my odds and ends) and I thought maybe I could offer it to refugees and asylum seekers who didn’t have anywhere to stay. It was very difficult to find an organisation at the time but finally I came across Refugees at Home (who were called something else back then), and I applied. After doing that I immediately went online to Argos and bought a bed, mattress, duvet, pillows and bedding and I told myself I was going to do this!
I will admit at the time I was very nervous, I was 18 and I had only started living on my own around 3 months before then, but I thought If I live my life in fear I am never going to experience anything. I went for it, and oh what and experience it has been…
I’ve hosted a total of 4 guests (some with young children) ranging from a 2 night stay to a 4 month stay, with my current guest staying for 6 months. I have had people from all over the world, different cultures, different religions, different ages, different races and different circumstances. Some of them spoke good English and some of them spoke none, but everyone is the same, they are all human and crave the same things we do: love, safety and happiness.
What I have learnt in this year is that my main role as host is to simply allow someone to breathe. You give them a chance to not have to worry about food, shelter or warmth, even for a few nights, and that gives people a chance to ground themselves again and keep going.
You don’t need qualifications, you just need a spare room and the desire to help someone in need.
I look forward to the new year and all the wonderful new experiences and people I will meet, and I urge anyone else that can to do the same.
Happy New Year!
(Also a massive thank you to all the wonderful people at Refugees at Home who keep everything running smoothly!)