Refugee Tales is a wonderful initiative inspired by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It started a few years ago and is increasingly popular. It combines a walk with storytelling. Its purpose is for people to walk in solidarity with refugees, asylum seekers and immigration detainees. People walk for about fifteen miles a day over a week across parts of South East England. In the evening, they are told the stories of refugees and they hear music from around the world.
It’s a great opportunity for expanding networks and to understand how government policy impacts on the lives of many. People join the walk for lots of reasons: to meet interesting people, to meet their literary heroes, because they want to show humanity and because they are refugees or asylum seekers and want to join with others to make a difference.
I joined friends who were taking part in the walk for 3 days at a church in Lewes to find out more. I learnt that 150 people are doing the walk each day, that at the end of each day, people sleep in church halls where they are given supper and breakfast. At the church, the evening was introduced the Chief Executive of the Anne Frank Trust and we heard beautiful music from a Syrian musician, stories read by actors and authors, including David Constantine. The stories are collected into books and there are now 3 volumes of Refugee Tales.
The key to joining the walk is to plan early. It gets booked up fast so if you are thinking about it for July 2020, book in good time. Do buy the book. You will read some great authors and you will understand more about the lives and struggles of refugees/asylum seekers and immigration detainees.