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Sudanese Refugees in Britain

Content by: South-South News

24 July 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — In a picturesque village in the East of England sits The Grange: a 1750s-rectory surrounded by ten acres of meadow, a lush lawn and a flourishing vegetable garden. Barn owls and kingfishers share their home with domestic ponies and sheep; guinea pigs and chickens can be heard squeaking and scratching at feeding time. This is where Ben and Sophie Margolis, the managers of the Grange, host retreats for refugees and asylum-seekers – providing a place of peace and welcome for people who have fled violence and war.

This English farm opened its doors to refuges six years ago. People come here to: Sing, paint, cook, practice English or just relax. “I love to come here,” said Noah, a Sudanese refugee, “When I came here I was asylum seeker I don’t know anyone. I was on my own, no friends, no anything.”

Noah has been coming here for a year. Ben Margolis, the Grange Farm Manager, said, “We don’t have expectations of anyone. What we normally find is that people have skills to share… This is a space where in a really safe environment you can experiment, make mistakes and try things that you don’t have an opportunity to try.”

Margolis added, “The first time Noah came here, he came with two other Sudanese men who had never been here before. And they were very quiet. They weren’t engaged, straight on their phones, buried in their own little world.”

As his contribution to the festivities, Noah built a clay oven to make bread and pizza. It was a skill he learned back home in Sudan. “I built the over in my house and in my cousin house [in Sudan],” he said, “When I cooked the people loved the cooking. They gave me more support, they said do better.”

Dozens of refugees come to the farm every week.

Noah said, “Everything they do here they do by love, with a big smile, people love you and you love people. You feel free.”

Noah has gone back to school so he can retrain as a doctor. “Now I see light there and it comes up, up, up, it’s like me looking at the sun,” he said.

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