“I think that welcome makes such a big difference to how a person, never mind a child, perceives a new country. When you see camps in Calais it does seem very different …”
Linh Vu from Vietnam, talking about the reception she received at a refugee camp on the south coast, inspired us to make a film about how child migrants feel welcomed or not when they first arrive. We decided to interview not only child migrants but those who know or care for them – teachers, friends, social workers, lawyers, activists, religious leaders and therapists. Mitchell Harris and I travelled the breadth and length of the UK with just an iPhone and microphone to hand.
The result is four films:
Child Migrants Welcome? (30 minutes) which explores the welcome received by unaccompanied child refugees both historically under the Kindertransport scheme before World War Two and today. It uncovers the implications of the present UK government’s immigration policies and procedures on the young people’s legal status as well as the campaigns led by Lord Dubs, who came over on the Kindertransport, Safe Passage and others to support child refugees.
The film is being shown in conjunction with the campaign Our Turn, marking 80 years since Kindertransport, to encourage local councils across the UK to pledge 10,000 places for child refugees over the next ten years from Europe and the conflict regions of the world. But the future is uncertain – existing schemes are due to close in 2020 and it is likely that any announcement will now be delayed until the autumn in light of a Conservative leadership election and the Brexit deadline of 31st October 2019.
I am Well Here ( 6 minutes)
Sue Skipper, Chair of Norwich International Youth Project and the young people who use the project talk about the benefit of the weekly sessions. Some have come to Norwich with their families but others have travelled on their own across Europe, some spending time in camps in Class and Dunkirk. This film is being shown along with others at Cinema City Picture House in Norwich on Sunday 23rd June at 11 am 2019.
I Don’t Understand Scones (10 minutes)
Child migrants and teachers from Sidmouth College secondary school including from Syria, Poland and Turkey talk about the welcome they have received in this seaside town in Devon, what they like and don’t like and their feelings of home.
Seeking Sanctuary on a Scottish Island ( 15 minutes)
Syrian children, who have come over as part of the Syrian Resettlement Programme (VPRS) and their teachers on the Isle of Bute talk in broad Scottish accents about the welcome they have received on this island off the west coast. This film has been very well received by different audiences but we are not intending to publish this on the website. You can contact us if you wish to organise a screening.
We are launching this series of films by first sharing Child Migrants Welcome? online. Please feel free to screen this independently or contact us if you would like us to recommend speakers for a post-screening discussion, for example of those featured in the film. Please also contact us if you would like to screen any of the other three films and we can send it/them to you independently.
We would like to thank everyone that we have interviewed and supported us in this project,
Eithne Nightingale & Mitchell Harris