Hosts Newsletter 10 – May 2017
It’s nearly Ramadan – a very important time in many of our guests’ lives. And we found last year that many hosts really didn’t know what it was about or what they should expect or was expected of them. So I asked a Muslim member of the R@H Board to help explain.
This year Ramadan runs from 26th May until 24th June. It’s a month in the Islamic calendar when observant Muslims try to fast, meaning not eating or drinking, from dawn to dusk, as well as generally being more conscious of religious duties and more pious. It can be a long warm day at UK latitudes.
In London this year the fast lasts from about 0330 until 2130. But this varies according to latitude. For the exact times here is a link to the timetable.
Muslims don’t have to participate if they would find it unreasonably difficult due to, say, health issues. But many guests will want to observe it.
Iftar is the meal after sunset when the fast is broken, it’s a special time when families and friends often get together, as is Eid at the end of the month. A long day of fasting can be really tiring, so having something appropriate ready to eat and drink in the evening is important. Many like to break their fast on dates. Often people get up before sunrise to eat and pray, and generally their timetable changes to accommodate different mealtimes, some people stay up late or even right through the night in prayer.
While fasting can be a spiritual experience, it can also be tiring and demanding, Muslims make extra efforts to be well behaved and charitable, but 18 hours is a long time without food and water. Some people may find being hosted in households with dogs especially difficult in this month. But it’s a special time that can bring out the best in people.
Refugee Week 19-25 June 2017
We are involved in a variety of events this year, including having a rather fun stall at the South Bank Centre on Saturday 24th. If you are interested in helping with the stall, please email Rachel on firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are holding or participating in events elsewhere, please do let us know.
Our Resource Database is getting bigger all the time and we hope you can use it to help your guests access the advice and help they need. It’s a work in progress and you can input new information directly. The more everyone does that, the better and more comprehensive it will be.
You can find it at http://refsource.gebnet.co.uk/
Recruiting more hosts
This is always a challenge. As we get bigger, we need more hosts, especially in large towns and cities. Our most successful hosts may have someone staying with them for several months – which is great and the guests love it – but it does take the hosts out of circulation for a good long while. Others have to drop out for a while when circumatances changes, those who have flown the nest return to it or exams loom.
We are happy to speak to groups, meetings, churches, mosques and synagogues and have several gigs looming. But the best way is happy hosts recruiting their neighbours, family and friends. These are the people who can see that hosting is a safe and worthwhile thing to do, because you are doing it successfully. Can you reach out and persuade them to host? It’s mutually beneficial as there is then an immediate support network (and somewhere your guest can stay when you host a stag night/mum comes to stay/nephew turns up unexpectedly.)
Talking of host networks, our hubs are growing quite quickly at the moment. We have recently or will soon have host hub meetings in Bristol, Kingston, Dorking, Epsom, West, South East & South West London, Kent, Hackney, Hertford, Holloway, Brighton and Cambridge. There may be others already meeting informally which we don’t know about.
We probably have enough hosts in Manchester, North West London and Walthamstow, to support hubs – would anyone like to step forward and co-ordinate any of these? It’s not terribly hard work and can be both fun and helpful – particularly for new hosts.
We have now hosted for over 24,000 person nights – nearly 6,000 up on the last newsletter.
We had made 520 placements by 8 May. Quite a few young Sudanese men from the same language class went to Dorking, Surrey over Easter, Ashley housing has referred several more chaps on their waiting list in Bristol and we made our first placement in Malvern.
We are currently looking for more hosts in Brighton, for Syrians, and in Manchester for a variety of people. Plus a really exceptional host who would take in a poorly 6 month old and her parents near Kingston Hospital where she needs daily treatment. And of course always in the capital – especially East London.
If you are a newish host and have seen none or few of our newsletters, we are now uploading them onto the website: www.refugeesathome.org. So if you think you have missed any of the information, links or just to keep in touch, do look there for the back issues.
All the best for now and so many thanks for being a wonderful lot. It makes the admin team’s task nearly a feasible one.