Friday, December 16, 2011
It doesn’t take much to get a new STAR group off the ground. All you need are a few like-minded students and a passion for refugee rights!
Kirsti Aventurin from York STAR tells us about the motivation behind setting up their new group in 2011 and her best moments so far.
When did York STAR start-up and what was the inspiration behind it?
York STAR was ratified by the Students’ Union on the 21st of June 2011. However, York STAR really only became real in October 2011, at the start of term.
To be honest, back in June we knew very little about the cause in York. The inspiration behind setting up the group was thus first, to discover what the situation was like in the place where we were studying, and second, to discover what we as students could do. STAR is answering all of these questions!
How many members do you currently have in your group?
Currently we have 15 members, that is, members who have paid the membership fee. We are looking forward to welcoming more and more students to come on board with us! In the meantime, we’re also enjoying our small group as it gives us time to lay a solid foundation for York STAR.
For you personally, what has been the highlight of being involved with STAR so far?
I think that the favourite moment for all of us has been volunteering with Refugee Action York. That’s when we started building friendships while serving the people at the drop-in centre.
Can you tell us a bit about this volunteering project, e.g. how it started and what you do?
York STAR students volunteer with Refugee Acton York every Sunday during term time. Activities include: teaching English, taking care of children under 5 years old, organizing activities with children over 5 years old, helping in the kitchen and preparing the food for the shared meal. I believe that all of those activities offer great opportunities for all of us to learn about each other and build relationships!
As Christmas approaches, York STAR students have volunteered to buy presents for the children at the drop-in centre (see picture above). A homework support group has also just been created. This will be a great way of encouraging children who may face difficulties at school.
Can you tell us about one of your favourite moments volunteering?
One of my favourite moments at Refugee Action York has been learning a Turkish dance with three girls from Turkey! It’s such a welcoming and friendly dance.
Do you have any plans for next term yet?
Right now we are in the process of organising a panel discussion at our University for January. I have to say that during York STAR’s first term we have primarily chosen to focus on raising awareness and volunteering in the community and we haven’t been involved with any STAR campaigns yet. This is something that we will not forget to do as we are aware of the fact that campaigning is one of STAR’s aims.
What would you say to encourage other students to get involved with STAR?
We are young, we have the time and energy to give so let us realise how much we can do to help refugees and asylum-seekers in our community!
Posted by STAR team on 16/12/2011 at 03:50 PM