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16 January, 2018

From refugee to friend: hosting refugees a ‘win-win’ for some in UK

A series of photos by Aubrey Wade, backed by UNHCR, highlights how UK households have discovered that offering a room to a refugee can benefit both parties.

Opening one’s home — and life — to someone who has been forced to flee their own country is not a decision to be taken lightly. But, as a new photographic exhibition on refugee-hosting in Britain demonstrates, it can bring real benefits to both parties.

Offering a room to a refugee can help them find their feet and better integrate in their new country, a process that can prove alienating and confusing. And for those wanting to do their part for the refugee crisis, it is a tangible, meaningful and potentially life-changing gesture. Often, bonds are forged that stand the test of time.

The most lovely, surprising thing that happened is that we became friends,” Emily Reynolds, 28, said of her experience in London hosting ”sassy” Areej, a refugee who fled Sudan needing international protection.

This and other personal stories are captured in Great British Welcome, the British chapter of No Stranger Place, an exhibition of photographs and stories portraying refugees and their hosts at home across Europe. The series was developed by the photographer Aubrey Wade in partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

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