- Participating in (Displacement – The Human Experience) event:
Saif Ali, founder of Integr8 UK, was a speaker on a locally and nationally renowned panel in this event. Organised by Open Hearts Open Borders, the event aimed to stimulate social awareness whilst informing, educating and facilitating ways in which individuals can support those who are affected by displacement. Other speaker on the panel were; Ahmad Al -Rashid (Syrian Student and Speaker – BBC Exodus: Our Journey to Europe), Baraa Ehsan Kouja (Founder From Syria With Love) and Juliet C Bill (Humanitarian – Independent Volunteer & Local Business Woman).
- August 5th: Running our 9th community gathering event at Foxhole Garden
In a sunny and warm day, 42 members of our Integr8 family enjoyed an outdoor picnic at Foxhole Community Garden. We light a fire, then we made hot drinks, camp bread and cooked popcorn and marshmallow desserts. After that we shared the delicious food that everyone prepared at home.
- July 5th: Participating at The Radical Rural Workshop
Saif Ali, funder of Integr8 UK, was a keynote speaker at this workshop, which was organised by two PhD students from Exeter university to explore the challenges of working with refugees and asylum seekers in rural areas.
- July 1st: Running our 8th community gathering event at Arts Lab Dartington
53 participants including, 8 volunteers and 2 facilitators spent a fun day out in nature, then at Arts Lab studio using art as a medium to explore their personal and collective visions. We ran this event in collaboration with Arts Lab Dartington.
- June 29th: Saif Ali gives the ‘Gifts of Displacement’ talk for the second time in Totnes
After delivering it in Plymouth, Saif was shortly invited to give the same talk at Totnes Consciousness Cafe, which was attended by 85 people who came from Totnes and surrounding towns.
- June 22nd: Saif Ali gives the ‘Gifts of Displacement’ talk for the first time in Plymouth University
The event took place at the Jill Craig cinema in Plymouth University and was attended by representatives of many refugee-support agencies as well as students and other people who are still seeking asylum or had their leave to remain.
- June 2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd: Celebrating a multicultural Ramadan
Local people in Totnes celebrated Ramadan with 27 muslim members who came from Totnes, Dartington, Paignton, Plymouth, Torquay and Dawlish. We met every Friday throughout the holly moth and shared our home cooked foods over iftaar with Muslim people from Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan.
- June 18th – 25th: Celebrating the 2nd SDRSN Refugee Week
The South Devon Refugee Support Network (SDRSN) put a series of events to celebrate cultural diversity and welcome for refugees in our area. SDRSN includes Ashburton Refugee Support Network, Beyond Borders Totnes & District, Citizen UK Ttnes, Darlington Hall Trust, Integr8 UK and South Brent Refugee Support Network.
- May 13th: Participating in a RSD’s Campaigning Workshop
Saif Ali, founder of Integr8 UK, gave a talk at Refugee Support Devon’s workshop on campaigning.
- May 12th: Saif Ali, founder of Integr8 UK, give his first Tedx talk
In this talk Saif shares the arduous journey that he went through while seeking asylum for 18 years and how that journey of adversity and loss gave birth to his life purpose and authentic identity. You can watch the talk on the TEDxTotnes website or directly on this Youtube link.
- April 8th: Running our 3rd community gathering event
32 member of our Integr8 family met at Dartington and enjoyed a day of sharing foods, music, dancing together and beautiful walk around Dartington gardens. Olissa Fransisco and Jerome Wilks from State of Emergency facilitated a body movement and dance activity that Brough everyone together on the beats of hip hip music! We ran this event in collaboration with State of Emergency and Darlington Hall Trust.
- March 18th, 25th & 26th: Running our third cross-cultural retreat at Dartington
For the third time, we had a fantastic time learning about how to embrace cultural differences. we had 15 people from Iraq, Ghana, Pakistan, England, Scotland, Venezuela Jordan, Eritrea, Spain and France. All came together to build cultural and social bridges and explore what it takes to live as an intercultural community. We exchanged our cultural stories and learned about intercultural communication. We shared foods from all around the world that participants have cooked. We danced on Pakistani, African, Greek, Latino, English and Jordanian songs. Then we ended the weekend spending time in the green gardens of Dartington and shape our visions for a global culture that embraces all using Devon’s clay.
- February 11th, 18th, 25th – March 4th: Running our 3rd Integr8 programme in Plymouth
9 participants from Jordan, Venezuela, Chechnya, Eritrea, Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, Ghana and Congo joined this personal development programme to gain the clarity, confidence and tools to start leading a purposeful life and work experience in the UK. Check full details about the programme here
- February 17th: Forming the Employability Network
Integr8 UK took the lead on founding the Refugees and Asylum Seekers Employability Network as part of Plymouth VCSE. The network is formed by refugee-support agencies that offer services that contribute to increasing people’s future employability. That includes Integr8 UK, Open Doors International Language School, START, and Workers Educational Association.
- February 10th: Fundraiser event
Favourite Things, a local initiative founded by Inez Aonte, has kindly put a storytelling event that raised £270 for Integr8 UK.
- February 7th : Joined the Displacement Studies Research Network
Displacement Studies is a research network based at the University of Plymouth with global partners and members. Please check full details here.
- February 4th: Running our 2nd community gathering at Dartington:
42 of our Integr8 family gathered to explore their dreams and hopes for etc future. People enjoyed a series of creative activities that we organised in collaboration with The Dartington Hall Trust and Foxhole Community Garden. >>> Read full story here.
- January 30th: Partnering with Recero-Enactus
Recreo is an initiative led by students from Plymouth University to support displaced people to secure meaningful jobs by writing effective CVs.
- January 7th: Running our 2nd community gathering event at Darlington
Attended by 49 people including 4 volunteers & 4 facilitators, we explored the differences and similarities that shape our coexistence through addressing the concept of identity, in its public and private aspects. >>> Read full story here
- November 19th, 26th, 27th: Running our 2nd cross-cultural training and retreat
18 participants from England, Germany, France, Sweden, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, England, Jordan, Kenya, Sudan, Congo and Eritrea joined this training and retreat at Dartington where they learned, played, spent time in nature, listened to live music, sang and danced, shared food, exchanged stories and connected with each other beyond differences. Check out full details about our cross-cultural retreats here.
- November 17th: South Devon Refugee Support Network 1st Anniversary
We celebrated one year of our work in Totnes, Darlington and Plymouth at the Methodist Church in Totnes. The event was attended by 55 people who donated Christmas presents to refugees and asylum seekers in Plymouth.
- October 15th, 22nd, 29th – November 5th 2016: Running our 2nd Integr8 programme
The personal development programme was attended by 9 participants from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, England, Jordan, Kenya, Sudan, Congo and Eritrea, who started their personal and collective journeys in shaping a better world for themselves. The training took place at Open Doors International Language School in Plymouth. To know more about the programme please visit this link.
- October 1st: Running our first community gathering event
Event was attended by everyone who attended or supported our first Integr8 program. 28 refugees, asylum seekers and other UK residents joined us at White House/Dartington, where we spent an eventful afternoon. We shared food from all around the world, enjoyed a nice walk around Dartington Estate and ended the day with Dabkeh (a Middle Eastern folk dance) over a famous Lebanese song. People got the chance to chat, share stories, deepen their connections each other and make new friends.
- September 30th: Food and Friendship fundraiser
The Ashburton Refugee Support Network has organised their second free entry, sit-down meal, speeches and live music event in Ashburton Town hall that was attended by 200 local people and refugees from Plymouth. Saif Ali, founder of Integr8 UK, was their keynote speaker for the second time to help raise around £1,300 for Refugee Support Devon for new Syrian families arriving in Devon under the government’s vulnerable persons relocation scheme (Ashburton Refugee Support Network)
- September 12th: Featuring Integr8 UK in Totnes Pulse newspaper ‘Saif Ali helping to Integrate Our World’
The Mark Al-khadi, founder of and editor at Totnes Pulse, interviewed Saif Ali, founder of Integr8 UK, who talked in details about his life journey that inspired him to found Integr8 UK. Check the article under this link.
- July 9th, 16th, 23rd & 24th, 30th – August 6th: Running our first Integr8 programme & cross-cultural retreat
Launching our Integr8 programme by delivering a 4-day personal development training at Open Doors International Language School in Plymouth and running a cross-cultural retreat at Dartington Hall Trust. The successful pilot was attended by 20 participants who came from from different parts in the world like England, Somalia, Eritrea, India, Sudan, Congo, Poland, China, Puerto Rico, Iraq, Wales, Lebanon and Syria. Check full report on this programme (with photos and testimonials) here.
- June 20th: Announcing Integr8 UK as our official name instead of Embracing Refugees
When we first started our work we chose the title Embracing Refugees as a title for our organisation. But we decided to change the name to something that embraces both sides of integration to celebrate equality and move away from labelling people by a name that can sometime be demoralising.
- May 13th – 22nd : Open Arms Festival (The first Refugee Week in this area)
Integr8 UK and many other refugee support agencies took an active part in organising this event under the umbrella of the South Devon Refugee Support Network. This one-week festival took place in and around Totnes in support of refugees and asylum seekers. The Open Arms festival raised funds for local refugee support initiatives, highlighted debates around the subject and showcased literature and music of exile and immigration from around the world.
- April 14th: Partnering with Open Doors International Language School
We connected with ODILS through the Refugees & Asylum Seekers Network in Plymouth. We found a great resonance with their values, so we explored opportunities of collaboration that resulted in running 3 of our personal development trainings at their wonderful building. ODILS continue to show us their support in every way possible.
- March 30th: The birth of the Integr8 integration model
Saif Ali, founder of Integr8 UK, decided to take the integration process to a different level and created the current Integr8 model.
- March 14th: Participating in CUK Candlelit Vigil
Integr8 UK was a key participant in this candlelit vigil and march from the plains to the Civic square in Totnes, organised by Citizen UK Totnes, to mark the 5th anniversary of the start of the Syrian conflict.
- March 10th: Joining the Refugees and Asylum Seekers Network (RAS) in Plymouth
We officially joined the RAS network that runs under Plymouth Volunteer Sector and Social Enterprise (VCSE). This network meets every two months to address issues related to refugees and asylum seekers in Plymouth are.
- March 19th: We are very humbled by the kindness that Proud2be organization has shown in organizing a jumble sale to raise funds for us and our sister initiative Beyond Borders Totnes and District.
- February 3rd: Induction Evening
In collaboration with Beyond Borders Totnes & District Integr8 UK organised this event in Totnes to raise awareness about the sensitivities that need to be addressed when it comes to supporting asylum seekers and refugees. Abigail Grace, a Project Development Worker from Refugee Support Devon, explored some key issues that many of who us who want to support/ work with refugees and asylum seekers need to take in consideration.
- December 19th: Thriving Together 2
This was our second ever integration event. It brought asylum seekers and refugees with other UK residents to connect and build social bridges at Eden Rise – Totnes through fun activities, clay workshop, sharing food and music. This event was attended by 30 people from from different countries like, Iraq, England, Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Saudi and Germany.
- December 15th: Launching our first SDRSN Crowdfunder
Beyond Borders Totnes & District, The Darlington Hall Trust and Integr8 UK joined efforts to raise money to help refugees and asylum seekers to overcome social isolation and hardship in South Devon. With the generosity and kindness of 215 supporters we raised £9,625 in 14 days. Checkout link for our Crowdfunder video here.
- November 20th: Food and Friendship fundraiser in Ashburton Town Hall
The Ashburon Refugee Support Network organised this event to raise money for refugee charities Save the Children and British Red Cross. Saif Ali, founder of Integr8 UK was the keynote speaker at this event. It was attended by 160 people and raised £600.
- November 20th: Forming the South Devon Refugee Support Network (SDRSN)
Three initiatives came together to form the South Devon Refugee Support Network; Beyond Borders Totnes & District, The Darlington Hall Trust and Inter8 UK (previously known as Embracing Refugees)
- October 31st: Thriving Together 1
We ran our first integration event that brought asylum seekers and refugees with other UK residents to connect at Eden Rise – Totnes. We used nature walk, art, various activities, food and music to help people build social bridges. This event was attended by 24 people from different countries like Syria, Kenya, Iraq, China, Israel, Eritrea, Somalia and England.
- October 26th: The Round Table gathering at Dartington
Over 100 people came from as far afield as Bristol and Plymouth, including people from theater groups, newly-formed refugee support groups in other parts of rural Devon, from faith groups, refugees and asylum-seekers. Together we explored how to collaborate to be of real help to people in great need beyond our borders. As a result of the meeting, we fired many local groups that addressed different area of support.
- October 10th: Launching Integr8 UK
This day marked the launch of Integr8 UK (previously known as Embracing Refugees) in a public event in Totnes attended by over 200 people, plus representatives of other organisations and refugee-support agencies like; Plymouth Red Cross, Refugee Support Devon, START, Darlington Hall Trust, Beyond Borders Totnes & District.
- November 9th: BBC Radio Interview with Saif Ali, founder of Integr8 UK:
Sophie Pierce, a BBC Radio presenter and journalist, interviewed Saif Al and founder from Beyond Borders Totnes & District to promote the launching event of their two initiatives.