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Gaida Dirar, a graduate of the 2019 SiPC in the North-East and current Sanctuary Ambassador and Operational Advisory Group Member shares her experience of the Sanctuary in Politics Course….


Why were you interested in taking part in the Sanctuary in Politics Course?      

I always was interested in the influence of politics and media. So as soon as I received the invitation email for enrolling in the Sanctuary in Politics course I didn’t hesitate to join, attend and contribute as well as starting my project.  

I believe politics played a significant role in the situation I am in now. And this is the field and the place I want to raise my voice within to influence politicians to make them aware of how their decisions could change people’s lives.


What did you learn/gain from the Sanctuary in Politics Course?

I learnt a lot during the three days I spent at Durham University attending the course: an introduction to City of Sanctuary, understanding of the work of the UK Parliament and House of Lords, campaigning for change on human rights and social rights, an introduction to the UK media scene, the role of equality and diversity in UK society and law and the role of a local councillor.


What was your favourite activity in the Sanctuary in Politics course?

One of the best courses I have ever attended as the course fulfilled what I came for and more: it was fun and [there were] a diverse lot of activities, sharing, and singing and smiles. I gained friends and contacts.

The course broke one of the significant barriers that faced me as a refugee, understanding how the media, politics, and law work in the UK. I gained more understanding of how to raise my voice and share my story to highlight the refugee and asylum seekers challenges.


When and how have you put the knowledge and skills gained from the Sanctuary in Politics Course into action since graduating?

I have been empowered to put it in action since day one of the course as the deliverer supported and encouraged us to engage and work together as well as to start our campaign directly before graduation, which was successful, and we used the positive energy we gained from the course.


How would you describe the Sanctuary in Politics course in one sentence?

100% recommended, empowering, supportive, encouraging and most important it is barrier-breaking.  


Why should people seeking sanctuary consider participating in the next Sanctuary in Politics Course?

This course will allow them to recognise and consider the best ways to participate and raise their voices.