Staff at Welsh charity and youth organisation Urdd Gobaith Cymru are preparing to welcome the arrival of the first Afghan families seeking refuge in Wales. The Urdd is working closely with the Welsh Government and partner organisations to help Afghan families who have escaped the conflict.
The organisation will look after the refugees by providing meals, accommodation with ‘en suite’ facilities and play a vital role in assisting with resettlement and planning a range of sport, arts, and educational activities to engage, support and help the families settle.
The Welsh youth movement has a proud history of humanitarian work through its annual peace and goodwill message and supports charities such as Christian Aid, Save the Children and United Purpose. Examples include fundraising to provide ambulances for liberated communities in Poland following the Second World War; helping survivors of the Aberfan disaster; supporting young victims of the Chernobyl disaster; ensuring new water wells in Sudan; arranging lorries of clothes and goods to those in need in Bosnia.
In recent years, Urdd staff and members have worked at a refugee camp in Slovenia, an orphanage in Poland and have held sports activities with hundreds of young girls in Kenya. In 2019, its residential centre in Llangrannog arranged an event for 200 Syrian refugees living locally to come together and share their experiences.
The Urdd has been working closely with the Welsh Government, Home Office, Local Authorities, Cytûn and organisations in the refugee sector in Wales to provide a strategic response to the situation in Afghanistan.
Siân Lewis, Chief Executive of Urdd Gobaith Cymru says: “This has been a huge team Wales effort across all sectors, and we are grateful to our partners for enabling us to open our doors as a refuge to families seeking shelter and safety.
“We are proud to help the people of Afghanistan and continue to share with our members the importance of loyalty to country and culture but also to humanity and a higher good. As a national youth organisation, offering support, friendship and a helping hand to the Afghan community in their time of need is at the core of our values.”