To mark today, International Migrants Day, Sanctuary Hosting would like to celebrate the attributes and skills that migrants bring to life in the UK. In particular, we will be referring to the characteristics of the individuals belonging to Sanctuary Hosting’s community.

Sanctuary Hosting formed in 2015 as a product of a grass-roots movement in Oxford of people wanting to welcome people who were homeless fleeing violence or persecution. It is a movement acting with hope, defiance and solidarity for those people arriving in the UK to seek safety. The Sanctuary Hosting community has come to see the wealth of skills, culture and diversity brought by men and women in need of hosting in the Thames Valley.

Our guests have been doctors, nurses, accountants, oncologists, biomedical engineers, interpreters, medicine students and aspiring law students in order to help others in their situation to navigate the asylum system and advocate for their rights and entitlements. 

As our Service Manager, Sarah Wahby highlights: “In the four years of working with Sanctuary Hosting, I have seen guests go on to do amazing things. One person is midway through a degree in medicine, another former guest is now a chartered accountant. I think of one lady who experienced so much suffering in her childhood and adulthood, and really struggled to accept the kindness of our volunteers. She is now living contentedly in her own home, and drops by the office with gifts and love whenever she can. These are inspiring stories of resilience that show what people can imagine and go on to achieve.”

During the COVID pandemic, we have been especially proud to have a guest winning a scholarship to study a nursing degree while also volunteering at the John Radcliffe hospital. Recently, a guest ran a half-marathon to raise funds and give back to Sanctuary Hosting to ensure we have funds to support many others in need of shelter. Others have taken part in public speaking, Refugee Week campaigns, and contributed to the development of promotional materials. These are all testimonies to resilience, humility and integrity, and hosting goes to show that when offered a place of sanctuary, warmth, and welcome, people can thrive and accomplish wonderful things.