WHO WE ARE
Starting in 2015, Voices for Refugees stands for and with the unspoken. Our aim is to raise awareness and advocate for refugee rights and all human rights around the world. Students have the opportunity to discuss, research and take action on issues of importance where disempowered groups have been denied a voice. We also host annual events, our most known being Write for Rights, a 24-hour writing marathon in which we write letters to different heads of state and leaders about human rights abuses in their respective regions. Together, we aim to connect with and give a voice to refugees and marginalised groups all across the world.
Voices for Refugees started in 2015 as a student initiative for the Syrian Refugee Crisis. In solidarity with Amnesty’s own Write for Rights marathon, the students of Voices for Refugees organised the very first Write for Rights in UWCSEA.
In 2016, Voices for Refugees successfully started a second Write for Rights.
During the 3rd Write for Rights event, we launched our website tracker for the letters. We also hosted a talk with guest speaker, Loretta Dalpozzo, a journalist who had just come from the Rakhine State.
We hosted an exhibit for World Refugee Day of that year as well as our 4th Write for Rights event which marks the first year of opening up cases to other focus groups. The event also ran in unison with International Human Rights Day and simultaneously with BIA, Because I Am’s event.
For World Refugee Day 2019, we hosted an event in solidarity with the UNHCR’s Step with Refugees with people stepping with refugees around our campus. We also hosted our 5th Write for Rights, in collaboration with other focus groups with their cases. This also marks the first year we have coordinated with other UWC colleges especially UWC Dilijan, in Armenia to simultaniously run the event.
We cooperated with Coding for Good (a college service) on their hackathon, called Take Hacktion 2020. We created a storyline for the teams to code, and ran a workshop to inform participants on refugee issues.
Previous and Current Members
Hi! My name is Rhea. I am in Grade 12 this year, and I joined Voices for Refugees in 2017 (Grade 9). I initially joined Voices because I realised that I didn’t know much about refugees. As the refugee crisis was a recurring topic in the news at the time, I wanted to learn more about a pressing issue. Over the course of two years, I’ve learnt about the causes of refugee crises, the challenges that refugees face, and most importantly, why we must support refugee rights. Write for Rights is my favourite event, because of its reach and impact on our school community. I like that we are able to advocate for global refugee rights, especially since we write to prominent leaders and figures of influence. I hope to enjoy my last year in Voices!
Hello! My name is Sonali. I’m in Grade 10 and this is my second year in Voices with Refugees. I joined initially because I had long been interested in the plight and the rights of refugees, and wanted to learn more about how I could get involved. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the issues we tackle, and doing my part to tackle them and raise awareness about them. This year, I am hoping to get even more people involved in our events and really cement our understanding of refugee rights and issues as a group. Looking forward to the rest of the year!
I’m Heidi, I am in Grade 11 and this is my third year being part of this group. I originally joined as I began hearing about the Rohingya refugee crisis in the news and wanted to find a way I could do something about it. Since being in the group, my knowledge about refugee issues around the world and passion for trying to help out has definitely increased. This year, as the co-chair and a member of the group, I want to help plan successful events that lots of people get involved in, and help the group gain a deeper understanding of refugee issues around the world. I also want to create and improve relationships between Voices for Refugees and other organisations and focus groups.
Hello, My name is Elijah, I joined Voices for Refugees in Grade 9 and I have been enamoured by the spirit of community continuously present in the group. Every day, issues around the world grow bigger and worse, but what action are we taking. I joined Voices for Refugees because I wanted to be part of a movement that tackles these issues on its own scale with true passion and heart.
I’m Hana from Grade 11, and this is my second year in Voices for Refugees. I gained interest in the topic of refugees since researching for my Global Perspectives essay in Grade 9, which led me to join Voices for Refugees the following year. I believe the global refugee crisis is a pressing humanitarian issue, which every country and every person is responsible to tackle and help find a peaceful solution. This year, I am very much looking forward to deepening my understanding about this topic, discussing and sharing views with others, and developing my own perspective.