Exhibition in Exile finds refuge in Newcastle upon Tyne Church

An exhibition of immigration cartoons by renowned cartoonists who had to flee persecution in Turkey together with its organisers in 2016 found refuge in St James’ Benwell Church of Newcastle upon Tyne. Time to Help joined Human Rights Solidarity, GemArt, Comfrey Project and Being Woman as the organisers of the four days long exhibition.

A consortium of humanitarian aid, human rights, immigrant support organisations and a local church in Benwell are hosting an exhibition of cartoons on immigration, refugees and asylum seekers and the cynical response of the industrialised world to this emerging phenomenon. The exhibition is formed of cartoons that themselves had to flee Turkey in late 2016 when the organising humanitarian aid organisation Kimse Yok Mu (KYM), then a member of the UN’s ECOSOC, was taken over by the authoritarian regime in the country. Hence, the name Exhibition in Exile.

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Greece Refugee Food Pack Appeal

On this year’s Christmas evening, some people cannot spend their night with their families in their warm houses not only because of the pandemic that is escalating once again but because of them being compelled to flee their countries. They are the asylum seekers and refugees who we usually see for a minute on the main news channels, sometimes pass by without noticing on the street but often never feel their presence and witness their lives closely.

Refugees are forced to flee their homes due to wars, environmental pollution, natural disasters, scarce resources, hurricanes or floods caused by climate changes, pressure on freedom of expression, limitations on religious practices and ideas, and injustices. Regardless of how difficult it is, they are compelled to leave their families, loved ones, relatives and friends behind and immigrate to other countries.

Fleeing from floods, running away from bombs, escaping from the risk of being unjustly taken to prison under the silence of a whole nation, they could bring neither belonging nor a memory. All they could do was to run away from the cruel reality. They abandon their languages, cultures, traditions and customs in the quest for safety. Just like a newborn baby, they shoulder the burden of learning a new language, try hard to get to know a new country and its people, adapt to a foreign culture, acquire a new identity and build a life from scratch.

We thought about what we could do more for them during this time of the year. They were once, just like us, sitting around a table with all their family members in their beautiful warm houses. Why not gather them around a table this Christmas too?
When we dream, it is all you who help us to achieve it. This time, it was a dream beyond borders. A beautiful, magical dream has come true once again. Thinking of refugees far from us, Time to Help UK and its associations Time to Help Netherland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg have conducted a joint project with the Tuna Foundation’s hosting. On 11th December, 50 volunteers from the Time to Help fled to Bucharest, Romania to load a full cargo of food parcels.

The exciting and marvellous project reached £3,639, hitting higher than the target of £3,400 with donations from 52 donors. Each pack worth £42 included 40 packages of 31 different products from essentials to candies for kids. First stop at Salonica, the truck has arrived in Athens on Monday and distributed the parcels to the refugee families in Greece. Now, getting even more attention and support than the expectations, another truck will be sent again. We are proud of the donors and volunteers who made it possible with their enormous generosity and kindness.

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