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To mark 20 years of Refugee Week, we invited you to do one of 20 Simple Acts to ‘help change the way we see refugees, and ourselves’.

We hoped that by each doing something small, together we could help make new connections in our communities, gain a better understanding of refugee experiences and show solidarity and support to newcomers to the UK.

Your responses were amazing.

You shared messages of welcome at your schools, workplaces and on your front doors. You wrote poems and shared cake and played football and learned songs written by people who couldn’t be there to sing them. You redefined the word ‘refuge’ and learned how to say ‘welcome’ in many different languages. And through books, films and uncovering hidden histories, you heard (and told) a different story about refugees.

Over 2,000 people used the #SimpleActs hashtag nearly 4,000 times in June 2018…

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Below are just a few examples of your Simple Acts.


Share a 20 second message of welcome 


Messages of welcome came from all quarters…


Including the young…


And the VERY young:


Write a 20 word poem


Powerful poems flew in from schools, arts projects and individuals – including one you might recognise:






Read more in our 20 word poem blog post.


Share one of 20 refugee stories


You shone a light on the real people behind the headlines:




Sing a song


At least seven choirs and groups responded to Music In Detention’s call to learn a song written in immigration detention. Music In Detention were so inspired they gathered the recordings into a special collection called ‘Freedom to Sing’, which you can listen to on their website.



Find 20 objects that tell a refugee story 


Museums helped us appreciate the histories of migration all around us…



…including the British Museum, which created a Refugee Week trail of 20 objects from its collection: 


Play with 20


You did clever, creative and moving things with the number 20:




Send a card 


Over 130 of you sent messages of welcome to people arriving in the UK, via our partner Migrant Help:


Bake a cake 


You harnessed the power of icing to make others happy:


Read a book about exile


Our invitation to travel through the page was picked up by publishers and bookshops:



Book reviewers…


And appeared on a billboard outside Borough Market:


Watch a film


You screened and watched films about people on the move – Upbeat Communities even made a special Refugee Week list of 20:


Share your refugees welcome banner


You took Refugee Week’s message of welcome everywhere:






Define the word refuge


“For me refuge means creative freedom”, said author Dina Nayeri…


Author Clementine Wamariya turned her attention to the word ‘refugee’…


As did Robert Macfarlane, whose definition became one of the biggest Tweets of the week…


…While others found refuge in their own bodies:


Learn a few words in another language


You expanded vocabularies and shared stories…



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In the classroom…

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…and online: over 60 of you shared ‘welcome’ in your language on the Refugee Week Facebook page!

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Have a kickabout


Oh yes, and it was the World Cup. Across the country, you dribbled and tackled with old and new teammates… and some familiar faces spoke up for refugee rights:





 Find five facts about refugees


Hundreds of you shared this sobering and important graphic by the Immigration Advice Service:


Look to the future


As we looked back over the past 20 years, you helped us imagine a better tomorrow.






You can take part in Simple Acts at any time of year. Why not do one at your school, home, workplace (or somewhere else) today? Visit the Simple Acts page to find out more


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