Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Heart of STAR - 2015 - Maddy Robinson

In celebration of STAR’s 25th birthday, we took the time to reconnect and share the stories of the people who made it possible for STAR to be where it is today. These are The Hearts of STAR, these are the change-makers, who through the decades strived to positively impact the lives of refugees and create a welcoming society in the UK and we are proud to share their stories with you on this Refugee Week 2020.

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How and why did you get involved in STAR?

I hardly knew anything about refugee protection before I joined STAR – I signed up because it seemed like a fun society to be involved in. But as soon as I joined, I found out how powerful and crucial STAR’s work is. I remember being amazed and moved by the first STAR conference I went to, and coming away feeling hugely motivated to do my bit to change the system. It clearly had an impact on me as seven years later I’m still here!

What is your favourite thing about STAR?

STAR students have so much enthusiasm and energy, and I really love that the work they do is peer-to-peer rather than “top-down”. A great example of this is that through STAR’s Equal Access campaign, students campaign for lasting change to their university’s policy so that their peers in the asylum process can access university. The English conversation clubs they run are another inspiring example; they’re not “classes” but “clubs”, and students use their time as students to support others to learn.

What impact did STAR have on your life or on what you do now?

Joining a STAR group changed my life, and I’ve been so proud to work for the STAR charity helping other students have a meaningful university experience. As a student it was so powerful to be able to connect with a wider community than my university bubble and to welcome and chat with people that had been forced to flee their homes. Thanks to STAR I came away as a knowledgeable and passionate advocate for the rights of people from refugee backgrounds. I know that whatever I go on to do in the future, I’ll keep on advocating for refugee rights.

What message would you like to give the current STAR students?

You have so much power to make meaningful change! When you’re part of a STAR group, you’re taking on a 25-year legacy of refugee welcome which may feel daunting, but ultimately means that everything you do through STAR – no matter how small or large the action – makes a difference.

An inspirational quote from the heart of STAR

“We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us” – Jo Cox

Posted by STAR team on 20/06/2020 at 10:16 AM