Day 6, 7 and 8
Dates: 16th, 23rd, 24th September
Time: 9.15am – 4.30pm
Venue: White House – Dartington (transport is provided from Plymouth to Dartington and Back)
Accommodation: The retreat in days 7 & 8 will be a residential weekend. The training starts on 9:15 am on Saturday and finished at 4:30 on Sunday. This means people will stay over night on day 7 where a free accommodation will be provided as part of the programme. The accommodation will be gender specific, means women and men will be staying in separate floors in the building. You can check out accommodation details here.


Food & Drinks: There will be vegetarian meals, snacks and drinks available throughout the 4 days, except for dinner on Day7 at Dartington, where people will bring a dish from their own culture to share with others.


This is residential weekend held at Dartington. This 2-day retreat will be attended by refugees, asylum seekers and other UK residents to help people build cross-cultural communication skills and social bridges. In this weekend you will:

  • Enjoy a relaxing weekend at Dartington estate
  • Participate in fun indoor and outdoor activities and a nature walk in the beautiful gardens of Dartington
  • Connect with people from different backgrounds and make new friends
  • Attend our cross-cultural training in the mornings were you will:
    • Learn about how culture affects the way we see the world and relate to others
    • Learn about the visible and invisible aspects of culture which can lead to misunderstanding (body language-including greetings, eye contact, perceptions of time, space and values)
    • Explore cultural communication styles around the world
    • Gain insight into how to navigate misunderstandings and build social and cultural bridges.


Saif Ali is a life coach, community engagement facilitator, public speaker, founder and director of Embracing Refugees, co-founder of Beyond Borders Totnes & District.

I have been empowering adults through my Passion2Action programme to help them discover their passions and start doing what brings their purpose to life, beyond their perceived limitations.

I have lived a seemingly limiting life for 18 years of it. I fled my home country when I was 17 escaping persecution. While seeking asylum for 18 years, I wasn’t allowed to earn money, and I was living in limbo for that entire period. I was homeless for many years of them which severely affected my health then.

I had to learn how to dance with fear, embrace uncertainty and seek every possibility to connect with the greatness of life and keep my passion and purpose alive. This was the greatest resource of strength I had.

I succeeded to create a rich life that was full of possibilities where money wasn’t the centre of it. I studied many courses and kept my skills, talents and learning alive through volunteering in different projects and leading institutes around the UK. All that helped me stay positively engaged in the world and resulted in shaping my current career. I made great connections with inspiring people and kept my eyes and soul connected to a vision of a promising future where I can make a positive difference in the world.

This showed me how a shift in the way we see life and ourselves can open our eyes to the vast potential we carry, and how we can shape a new way of embracing life, beyond limitations.

Was life challenging at times? Yes. Most of the time.

Did it feel endlessly painful? Sure it did.

Have I lost hope? MANY times.

BUT…. I never lost my passion for doing what I love.

Keeping my passion and purpose alive have held my crumbling world together and kept me connected to something bigger than my life challenging circumstances.

This is what I mastered and sharing it with and empowering people who are sinking in the same areas I’ve survived became my life mission.


  • Day 5: Clarify your direction in life
    In this day each participant will have a one-to-one career coaching session that lasts for 1.45 hour. This session will help you:

    • Gain a clearer vision of your life goals and career path
    • Create a mission statement that reflects who you are and your current life mission.


To make sure that our service users continue progressing in life and at work followup-supportwe partnered with the Racial Equality Council to run weekly gender-specific peer support groups for men and women in Plymouth. 

We regularly invite professionals from the personal growth and wellbeing sector to facilitate some of activities and workshops. Through group activities, explorations, individual reflections and one-to-one mentoring, participants continue to gain life and professional skills to help them:

  • Build confidence
  • Succeed in life and at work
  • Improve their general wellbeing and lifestyle
  • Learn how to manage stress
  • Connect with other avenues of local support in Plymouth and around
  • Meet like-minded people and make new friends
  • Have a creative, fun and relaxing time

People also get the chance to have one-to-one support from mentors to address specific issues in their life.

Our meetings take place in:
Kinsman room (upstairs)
Sherwell Church North Hill
Plymouth PL4 8ER 

If you are interested in joining us, please contact Julie or Vanessa on 01752 224555.

Secure meaningful volunteering and build work experience by connecting you with volunteer opportunities in your local area. We coordinate this in collaboration with the Plymouth Guild and the Give Back project.

  • develop problem solving skills
  • plan, analyse and develop projects
  • and manage your time effectively
  • build daily routines that lead to future success
  • develop effective communication skills within a group




. This helps people overcome cultural isolation and the social marginalization and gives them the opportunity to deepen the connections they established with other UK residents, make new friends and build emotional resilience.




  • Designed and delivered by Saif Ali, personal growth coach and group facilitator, Passion4Change is a 4-day personal and professional development training. It aims to empower refugees and asylum seekers and help them gain the clarity and motivation, and develop the skills they need to claim their true potential and take part in creating a better, fairer and more beautiful world for all by doing work they are passionate about.Through individual reflections, creative activities and group discussions people will be able to:
    • Create a new vision for a fulfilling future with purpose in mind
    • Discover their real passions, personal strengths and hidden abilities
    • Increase their future employability by learning transferable skills like:
      • plan and analyse projects
      • set goals and how to effectively achieve them
      • work collaboratively in a team
      • find creative solutions to problems
      • prioritize tasks and manage their time and energy
      • build daily routines that lead to future success
      • communicate effectively with individuals and within a team
    • Learn how to overcome their life limitations and start building new habits for resilience and success
    • Create an actionable plan to help them achieve their goals and turn their vision to reality
    • Start making a positive difference in their community by doing work they truly love
    • Boost self-confidence
    • Meet like-minded people and make new friends

    • We have also created a blog and a facebook page where we posts practical tips and motivational material to help refugees and asylum seekers continue their personal development journey and build resilience. Connect with our thriving community on facebook_logo_square Passion4Change

      passion4change_2  passion4change_4 passion4change_3passion4change_1


  • Receive community Support: We work closely with Beyond Borders Totnes & District to meet some of our service users’ individual needs. This varies from offering lifts, befriending, therapeutic support, outings, temporary housing and skill share.
  • Join local events and activities organised by us or other refugee support agencies to help people stay socially engaged and build cultural bridges.




Participants will leave with a printed package that includes:

  1. An actionable plan/ road map for their future success
  2. Personal CV
  3. Practical guide on:
    • Successful planning and goal setting
    • Creative problem solving
    • Productivity and time management
    • Teamwork and communication skills
  4. Daily planner worksheet
  5. Certificate of attendance




Integr8 is a project designed to set a solid ground for building a strong multi-cultural community in South Devon by empowering and equipping local people, refugees and asylum seekers with the tools needed to integrate through volunteering in local projects and organizations where everyone feels equal and able to embrace cultural diversity and celebrate their identities and strengths.


There is a long waiting period (up to 20 years) that asylum seekers undertake from the day they arrive to the UK until they get granted their refugee status. During which they suffer from excruciating social isolation. They are prohibited from getting a paid work and they obviously won’t afford continuing their education and personal development. Many of them lose their sense of direction and get out of touch with their purpose, identities and strengths. They end up struggling with depression, damaged self-esteem and find integrating in the community a massive mountain to climb.

This creates a massive gap between refugees and asylum seekers and local people. Apprehension takes over and people feel dehumanized and alienated. Ignoring this issue makes the distance between ‘them’ and ‘us’ gets increasingly bigger and creates a dysfunctional community.

Saif Ali, founder and director of Embracing Refugees, has developed the Integr8 programme in collaboration with other professionals from the industry to help overcome this challenge by providing a two-day workshop where local people, refugees and asylum seekers meet, connect and learn through attending:


If you like to support our mission by offering volunteering opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers, participating in our workshops, offering your professional skills, advice, time or any other resources, please contact us. We will be happy to hear from you.

Check out how you too can play a significant part in supporting refugees and asylum seekers.



Join our Thriving Together weekend to learn about how to stay healthy and build resilience, establish cultural dialogues with asylum seekers, refugees and local people from different backgrounds. Learn More


Offering short/ long term projects where refugees, asylum seekers and local people can volunteer together to learn new skills and establish cultural bridges. Projects can be nature, art, well-being related or anything else that may contribute to the integration process


As a refugee, can I come to only one of your weekends, or can I attend several or all of them?

We’d love it if you’d like to attend as many as possible. The choice is completely yours to come to just one, or as few or many as you wish.

I’ve now received my papers and so now have a ‘leave to remain’. Can I continue to attend your events?

Great news, welcome fellow resident! Whilst our service is only for those awaiting a decision from the Home Office, we’d love it if you felt able to volunteer and help refugees still awaiting their decision. Apply to volunteer here.


We help refugees and asylum seekers to:

  • Be part of a wider community that welcomes them and treats them as equals
  • Establish cultural dialogues to learn about the British culture and embrace their own within safe spaces
  • Participate in short, medium or long term projects that helps them integrate in the British community and maintain a sense of purpose.
  • Learn how to manage stress, emotional and mental challenges
  • Expand their approach to life beyond the Home Office process

These positive experiences would be achieved through:

  • Linking with local projects that are willing to take on refugees and asylum seekers to volunteer over a short or long periods of time.
  • Offer personal development workshops that are facilitated by professionals from the well-being industry to help them learn about themselves and their place in the world
  • Facilitating sharing circles to help them express what is going on for them
  • Offer exercises and body work such as massage, yoga, aerobics and self-shiatsu
  • Create opportunities for social activities, including picnics or walks in nature where they can share an enriching time with local people
  • Use art, music, food, nature as a way to establish cultural dialogues and have a social and therapeutic experiences

Please keep checking the NEWS & EVENTS or our FACEBOOK page to know about our upcoming activities.

If you have any skills or time you can offer to help us achieve any of the above, or you have other ideas that can leverage on it, please CONTACT US!




SOUTH DEVON REFUGEE SUPPORT NETWORK (SDRSN) is a collaboration hub of the following several local organizations and initiatives formed to support refugees and asylum seekers in South Devon. We work in open collaboration with other initiatives in the area.

Beyond Borders Totnes & District
: BBT&D is a ‘living library’ of local human resources, facilitating collaborations for ambitious or low-key initiatives to support asylum seekers and refugees. Its core aim is to foster integration, cross-cultural collaboration and caring.Get Involved | Join the Listing | Contact Us: www.beyondborderstotnes.or.uk

DartingtonDartington Hall Trust: is a charity that uses its landed estate to support creative, resilient communities to make positive social change. For SDRSN it connects with others (groups, organisations and individuals to work together on a useful and effective response to the refugee crisis facing Europe. For more info: www.dartington.org/refugees

Embracing Refugees
: is non-profit community organisation, based in Totnes, that helps local people, asylum seekers and refugees in South Devon to build social bridges through participating in well-being events and activities where they can embrace their differences and celebrate their individuality as part of the integration process.
Get Involved | Contact Us: embracingrefugees.org

We are building close collaboration with the British Red Cross, Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support, Hazelwood House and Exeter’s Refugee Support Devon