Over 30 Cradoc School pupils went to school on a Sunday to help Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees (HBTSR) welcome 55 people seeking asylum or refuge in Swansea for an action-packed day.
Led by their Head and Deputy Head teachers Judith Morris and Beth Roberts, the pupils, parents, grandparents and friends collaborated with HBTSR to provide breakfast, lunch and teas as well as a host of activites. Despite rain, a mixture of children of over 12 nationalities and all ages played football, built shelters, saw lambs and cooked dampers outside whilst those more concerned by the weather stayed in for facepainting, Welsh cake cooking, jewellery making, paper basket weaving, clay modeling, music, woodcarving and painting. Meanwhile the mothers sorted through and selected from masses of clothing donated by Cradoc school parents and Tescos (a worker visited the school, heard about the event and donated surplus clothing).
When Williams coaches arrived to take people home, welcome bags of food and toiletries given by a mixture of pupils, villagers, supporters, Morrisons and Aldi were handed over amidst hugs, tears of joy and thanks. Feedback from the visitors was of heartfelt gratitude - "the trip was so nice. I thank the people so much. My daughter has wonderful face painting and the donations of clothes and food is so helpful to us. It saves us money that we can use on other things. If any of these wonderful people ever come to Swansea I would like to repay their amazing hospitality," said M from Sudan. Maria Nicholas who volunteers at one of the drop-in centres in Swansea explained that it was difficult to articulate what this generosity and friendship means to people who are isolated, anxious and sad, trying to come to terms with the traumas they have fled whilst desperately attempting to rebuild lives and families here. "It was a fantastic day that will live in the hearts of our friends [and indeed us] for a very long time," she said.
"We feel sure that it will be a school day that Cradoc school pupils won’t forget either.