On Sunday 18.6.2017 Finnish Red Cross South-West District’s youths left to a five-days study trip to England. The trip was planned together with a Finnish Red Cross volunteer Henrika, youth action coordinator (Finnish Red Cross) Sara and StepEurope Ry’s international coordinator Teddy and president Melina. Also the participants had a chance to give their hints for the free time activities.
Most of the youths were familiar with each other in advance, but also a few new faces participated. The group became one in a short time and the atmosphere was high from the very first day regardless of the tiredness. Many of the participants have been an active member of Finnish Red Cross earlier in first aid, multicultural actions and/or youth actions.
The trip included visit to the huge British Red Cross headquarters in London. Over there we met Hugo, who is the Incharge of the asylum seekers and refugee actions in Red Cross. He was telling quite carefully about the activities and support they are offering. A big difference is for instance that in England the Red Cross does not provide reception centres at all like we do in Finland.
On the same day we travelled from London to an idyllic small town called Canterbury. We had a dinner and short walk in the riverside. We got a hint about a place, which is serving the best mojitos in the town, so we visited a lovely pub, mixture of historic walls and big modern glass windows.
During our stay in Canterbury was the International Refugee Day. The day included many activities in the town. We visited an exhibition of an art project related to the refugees. We also had a chance to visit the British Red Cross Canterbury’s office. There we met youth action coordinator, Ben. He was interested to hear how the things are in Finland and also told us about their ways of supporting the people nearby. Later we had a historic tour about Canterbury. The guide was awesome!
Folkstone, what a beautiful town next to the sea! The reason we took a bus from Canterbury to Folkstone was Kent Refugee Action Network, which aims to help and support the young asylum seekers who are living alone. We went to see their office and had a long walk in the town with the employees, volunteers and young asylum seekers.
Beside all the interesting visits, we were also having picnics, time for shopping, dinners and just good time with the group! A nice trip indeed! The trip would not have been so great and well organized, if Melina and Teddy would not have been spending time and effort to book tables in restaurants, making appointments with the visit places and organizing the picnics and tours in Canterbury. Also a big thank for Finnish Red Cross for offering such an amazing chances for youths to explore different cultures and ways of behaving! Thank you so much!
-Ronja (StepEurope ry, project coordinator)