So many friends, visitors and volunteers generously gave their time and talents for this our third FRIENDS event at the other Notre Dame (the London campus of Notre Dame University, Indiana).
It is the perfect venue and the staff were immensely kind and welcoming. The real life stories which came, unmediated, from four of our visitors moved everyone. All four showed remarkable confidence in speaking to quite a large crowd in a formal setting: A arrived from DRC with very little English, and is now a regular volunteer; M from Iran, arrives in his wheelchair punctually every Monday for the English class and came with his wife and children; R from Eritrea, and A from Nigeria, whose happiness at the end of a long struggle for her right to remain was infectious.
I could have listened to Ian Shaw singing and telling stories for the rest of the evening – you felt he really knew at first hand what refugees experience.
The artists from Nabila’s class had mounted an impressive exhibition of their work, and sold many works on the spot; the sewing group displayed the beautiful aprons they had made.
Audience members gave generously (they had been treated to Sarah Till’s wonderful canapes washed down with wine) and we were able to raise £1000 towards the work of the Centre.