Students from University of Northampton continue to help young refugees by hosting online language lessons

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The students teach a local youth group for refugees and asylum seekers aged between 17 and 21

A group of students from the University of Northampton has been determined to continue supporting refugees and asylum seekers even during lockdown.

Back in September last year, the university’s Student Action for Refugees (STAR) began to host face to face language lessons.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these lessons could no longer continue, but that did not phase the students and they quickly adapted to online sessions.

The students who are continuing to help refugees even during lockdown.The students who are continuing to help refugees even during lockdown.
The students who are continuing to help refugees even during lockdown.

Natasha Murphy, one of the seven students who run the lessons, said: “We were determined to carry on and not let the situation stop us.

“It’s been important to keep in contact with the people we had been helping, and also good for us students too, as it has helped everyone cope a little better with the isolation.

“It’s also meant the students have been able to keep up their volunteering, even when they’ve moved from Northampton to their hometowns.

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“Over time we have got to know the refugees and asylum seekers really well, and have forged strong bonds with them.

“We didn’t want to abandon that and it’s been really rewarding to keep it going.”

The users of the service are aged between 17 and 21, and are members of the Learn 2 Live youth club, which supports young refugees and asylum seekers in Northampton.

Natasha added: “They’ve been through a lot and end up in the UK with the aim of starting a new life, and it can be a very difficult time for them.

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“We have people from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Iraq and Iran who have fled military regimes, civil war or have had their land taken from them.

“Our conversational classes are a way in which we can help them assimilate into life here, in a fun, relaxed way.

“It’s a simple thing, but it means so much to everybody involved.”

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