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Public speaking training

Asylum seekers, who are normally not allowed to work, are often left with little opportunity to communicate with the wider community. Because of this they can become marginalised.  Bristol Refugee Rights empower people to tell their own stories and share their perspectives on what it is like to be an asylum seeker in the UK.

As well as training our members in public speaking we also organise events where the audience can learn more about people’s experience of what its like to be an asylum seeker in the UK.  For example we recently organised a series of ‘cafe conversations’ to offer an informal space for dialogue. We also bring speakers to a wide variety of groups and institutions such as schools, universities, faith groups, community organisations and conferences. 

Our public speaking training is part of the VOICE project which is funded by the Big Lottery until March 2019. As part of the VOICE project we also train our members as interpreters.

Hear from our VOICE public speakers

If you would like to have our VOICE public speakers attend your event please fill in the form and e-mail it to .

Bristol Refugee Right also offer complete training packages designed to help your organisation understand the equality issues that are faced by asylum seekers and refugees. For more information about these packages, which can include hearing from one of our VOICE speakers, visit our Training page or download our Training Leaflet

Videos partnership with Bath Spa animation department

Emma Willson — ‘Home is the mouth of a shark’

Emma Flood — Who Are Refugees

Human Rights Day 2016 poems created by VOICE volunteers

One time I met with racism was

When an English lady was pointing at me on the bus, and insulting all refugees
When people in my community blamed Arabs, Turks, Persians & others for all their problems
After the Syrian crisis on TV, people looked at me as if I’d just come from there
Someone called me a name at school
When a group of people in the street told me to go home
When the Home Office wrote me a letter saying No Recourse to Public Funds
When 8 years old I learned about the Rwandan genocide
One cold day, while wearing a wrap on my head, I got spat at

A time when I felt safe was

An old lady opened her door for me when I had nowhere to go
When I found friendships built on basics of a fundamental need for togetherness, mutual trust, compassion & love
When I could be outside at night without the fear of kidnapping
The day that I chose to feel safe inside
When I joined Bristol Refugee Rights
When someone said that being an immigrant is not a crime
When I got a place I call home away from fear
When many ladies I did not know, came to help me with unpacking

To me Human Rights is

Means breathing the air you want without asking opinions or permission
Means that we can live without any more need for rights
A woman can have her own place even when she’s not married
What was ours but was stolen from us and we have to take back
Safety and protection under the governance of the law in the country
Freedom of speech
Freedom not to be segregated by race, gender, religion & sexuality
About my responsibilities towards others, not just about my rights

How I feel about the Home Office is

It makes me feel unsure about my daughter’s future
Nothing more dehumanising than the abuse of authority
A ghost we don’t see but only receive letters from
They don’t see the person behind the interview questions
When I went for interview, after a struggle, and they said I was lying, I felt intimidated and offended
It causes depression and stress
They treat asylum seekers as a lower category of person
That it is an arbitrary system that robs people of self-worth

One thing migrants bring with them is   

A lovely rainbow of everything that their country has
This real news of the state of our world
That fresh view of your green springs Stories
Skills, labour & courage
Unity in diversity
An open mind & heart that is later crushed
New tastes, new ingredients, new possibilities

I first felt that I belonged in Bristol when

I went back to the English classes I’d gone to two years ago and everyone remembered me
I first set foot in it I had no doubt that I could belong here
Women’s groups taught me how to do yoga and relax
I made a friend at school
I found myself under the umbrella of Bristol Refugee Rights
I started living with a British host family
I felt embraced in the web of the Bristol community
I was asked my name first. Rather than, where are you from?