The SOAS ParliaMentors team

The SOAS ParliaMentors team

This year’s ParliaMentors programme, our UN award winning leadership scheme for students, is in full swing, with nine teams of students working on social action projects around the country, from reducing hate crime in Nottingham to mentoring young people in Salford and Tower Hamlets.

The team of five students from SOAS, University of London, are the first to deliver their project, and have chosen to respond to the refugee crisis on a very local level.

Their project ‘Camden Cares’ is welcoming refugees to the Camden area through a series of community events, including the newly arrived Syrian families to the area. These events include a football workshop at Arsenal, a tour of Parliament and a trip to the zoo. They’re also setting up a homework club for refugees in Camden, particularly focusing on the large population of Arabic speaking students at SOAS to help with translation.

Refugees and local community members playing football

Refugees and local community members playing football

Emmanuel Etuh, one of the 5 ParliaMentors from SOAS: “All five of us have been affected by migration, we’re all international students and we’ve all faced the struggle of having to leave home and adjust in a new environment. In a way, we all have a personal and emotional connection to this cause.”

The five ParliaMentors are from a diverse range of cultural and faith backgrounds.

The 3FF Team joined them for their first event, a football workshop with around 30 refugees, students and members of the local community. While our football skills left lots to be desired, the event was a great success. After a welcome from the students and some ‘getting to know you’ icebreaker games, we headed down to the pitch for a football skills workshop organised by The Arsenal Foundation and an informal match. There was a brilliantly inclusive and intergenerational atmosphere on the day, bolstered by Arabic speaking student volunteers who helped out with translation. Their project has already been covered in the local press and student publications.

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Nazgol, a ParliaMentor, with a student volunteer

The SOAS Team is mentored by Sir Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras and 3FF’s own local MP, in order to increase the access these emerging leaders have to the political arena. Sir Keir is also supporting the team to organise the tour of Parliament for local refugees.

Watch this space for lots more Social Action Delivery from other ParliaMentors team across London, Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham and Manchester in February and March!

 You can find out more about Camden Cares or volunteer to help out via the Team’s twitter: @camdencares or on Tumblr

 You can register your interest to apply to the ParliaMentors programme here