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Global Link shares stories of refugees settled across Lancashire

John Freeman

Lancaster-based educational charity Global Link is sharing stories online of people who have found refuge in Lancashire, enabling voices to be heard from behind the headlines (some of them singularly unpleasant).

Global Link has a long history of enabling the public to hear the stories of some of the asylum-seekers and refugees behind the headlines, including the multi-media touring exhibition Escape to Safety which invited adults and young people to feel what it was like to have to flee your home and seek sanctuary in the UK.

Most recently, Global Link worked with refugees and asylum-seekers in Blackburn to create digital stories which are available at under Digital Storytelling.

Mukhtar from Eritrea created a story called ‘My Second Family’ about finding refuge in Blackburn and subsequently winning an award for services to community cohesion. Mukhtar was a Head teacher who fled the dictatorship in Eritrea in 2002.

Aftab from Pakistan created a story called ‘I Have a Dream’ about fleeing from Pakistan where he nearly lost his life speaking out as a journalist against human rights abuses.

"It's important that people listen to the stories beyond the headlines," argues Gisela Renolds of Global Link. "Refugees and migrants are too often portrayed as a threatening ‘other’, with little description of where they have come from, or what has forced them to flee.

"If teachers want to address the issues in the classroom, there are lots of online educational resources available. Global Link also offers workshops in schools, including a simulation of a European Summit on Migration, and Continuing Professional Development. Indeed, at a recent workshop in Lancaster, the vast majority of Year 5 & 6 children felt that refugees should be shared out equally across Europe, either related to population or geographical size of the country."

Global Link is a development education centre based in the YMCA in Lancaster and delivers global learning workshops and training across Lancashire and Greater Manchester.