Menu
Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Women on the Move Awards: from left, Zrinka Bralo of Migrants Organise, Champion award winner Dr Jess Potter, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa Redgrave, Woman of the Year Rossana Leal, Young Woman of the Year Zamira Abbasova, UNHCR’s Laura Padoan and BBC broadcaster Samira Ahmed (photo: Beth Crosland).

Women on the Move Awards: from left, Zrinka Bralo of Migrants Organise, Champion award winner Dr Jess Potter, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa Redgrave, Woman of the Year Rossana Leal, Young Woman of the Year Zamira Abbasova, UNHCR’s Laura Padoan and BBC broadcaster Samira Ahmed).

Hastings woman recognised for work with refugees

Hastings resident Rossana Leal’s work with refugees has been recognised with an award from UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and Migrants Organise at the WOW Festival in London. Alex Kempton, media and communications lead for Hastings Community of Sanctuary, reports from the event. Photos by Beth Crosland.

The Women on the Move Award was given to former Chilean refugee Rossana Leal in recognition of her pioneering work with the Hastings & Rother Refugee Buddy Project, which brings together a community of more than 100 East Sussex locals with newly arrived refugees. Together they share meals, visit local sites and festivals, run sewing groups and provide driving lessons and children’s activities.

The Hastings & Rother Refugee Buddy Project is an integral part of Hastings Community of Sanctuary, whose mission is to promote “caring, shelter and sanctuary for all who live in our place”. It is part of a nationwide movement which seeks to build a strong network across the land to nurture a narrative of kindness, support and hospitality towards those seeking refuge and towards all our fellow citizens.

The awards were part of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival International Women’s Day celebrations on Friday 8 March at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Rossana receives her award from Vanessa Redgrave.

Rossana receives her award from Vanessa Redgrave.

Hosted by the BBC’s Samira Ahmed, the award was presented by Vanessa Redgrave, one of the most celebrated actresses of her generation, and founder of the WOW Festival, Jude Kelly.

In setting up the project, Leal drew from her own experiences of fleeing Chile with her family in 1976, and the warm welcome she received after being resettled by UNHCR in a small mining village in Scotland. The refugees were greeted with a party, bagpipes, toys for the children, and a fully stocked coal shed during their first cold winter.

Redgrave was visibly moved to see the powerful impact of the Buddy Project’s work in Hastings. As a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF (UN International Children’s Emergency Fund), she met with Chilean refugees fleeing Argentina in the 1970s.

Migrants Organise chief executive Zrinka Bralo said: “Good people tend to do good work quietly, and Rossana and her friends in Hastings deserve to be celebrated for the amazing work of welcome that they do.”

“The most courageous people I know are refugee women,” said Laura Padoan, spokesperson for UNHCR. “In spite of everything they’ve been through, they are reaching out to others in need and giving back to the communities that have welcomed them.”

We at Hastings Community of Sanctuary are enormously proud that Rossana has been recognised by such prestigious organisations. Her hard work in founding and running the Buddy Project, as well as her ongoing contributions to the wider work of Hastings Community of Sanctuary, make her an essential part of our mission to create a place of safety and sanctuary here in Hastings.

 

For more information about the Hastings & Rother Refugee Buddy Project and to see how you can support its work visit the Hastings Community of Sanctuary website.

Posted 10:57 Monday, Mar 18, 2019 In: Hastings People


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

Leave a comment

Also in: Hastings People

«
»
More HOT Stuff
  • SUPPORT HOT

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!

    ADVERTISE

    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…

    DONATE

    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal. It’s easy!

    VOLUNTEER

    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us

    SUBSCRIBE
  • Subscribe to HOT