Medway Plus hosted a Human Rights Day event on behalf of the SIREE project on 11 December 2019. Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Marie Thibault, Medway Plus chaired the occasion with a welcome from the Mayor of Medway, Councillor Habib Tejan who welcomed the wide range of people attending from Medway, from school groups, local community groups and those representing public services.
There were poignant talks from Alex Ntung and Joe Jones about the discrimination they had faced with their migrant backgrounds. Alex Ntung described his beautiful home country of DR Congo in which he grew up, before having to escape over fears of persecution. The audience then heard his very painful and moving story of the UK asylum process. Joe Jones, Chair of the Gypsy Council spoke about the vilification that Gypsies face and stated, “we are still not accepted”. Dr David Smith then defined Human Rights and the history of it from 539 BC.
Inspired by the mornings talks and the stories shared, four brave representatives from Mid Kent College shared their experiences of fleeing their home country and seeking asylum in the UK. Their passion for their life in the UK was incredible and one of them exalted “I am here, I am happy, I am so proud”. This very moving impromptu story telling was a highlight of the day for many.
The afternoon started with the SIREE projects Young Language Ambassadors being presented with their certificates. The Young Language Ambassador scheme allows young people at school to help others who are new to the UK and are learning the language. They make others feel supported and help with language learning.
Several schools then performed throughout the afternoon, with choir performances from Luton Junior School and St James CE Primary School and a dance performance from Victory Academy and a drama presentation from Phoenix Junior School. All the performances were based around the student’s impressions of Human Rights Day.
The day finished with a performance from We Can Sing UK, saying that “Every voice should be heard”, and several local schools joined in for the finale song Black & White.
Interreg 2 Seas 2014-2020 is a European Territorial Cooperation Program covering England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The program is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The overall objective is to develop an innovative, knowledge and research based, sustainable and inclusive 2 Seas area. In order to realize this, projects that directly contribute to one of the Specific Objectives can be part-financed for up to 60 % of their total project budget.