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A Open Letter to a Woman Who Offered Hospitality to Young Men from Eritrea and Sudan Who Suddenly Appeared in Her Lincolnshire Village

Dear Mrs Smith,

I heard your interview on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and saw the article in the Sleaford Standard.

Thank you so much for your kindness in offering hospitality to these 13 young men from Eritrea and Sudan. Your story brought me a lot of hope that people can respond to suffering and despair humanely and compassionately.

Last September, I visited Calais (“The Jungle”) with my (then) 6-year old daughter from another village in Lincolnshire. We met many young men from these countries, plus from Iraq and Iran. This experience led me to open my own home to an 18-year old asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is housed in Leicester but comes to our home every month for one week, to practice English and have a family life. (He was orphaned at age nine.)

Since then, I began a Sanctuary Breaks scheme as part of the national organisation, City of Sanctuary. Last week saw our fourth and fifth hosted families/individuals come together for a beach befriending day at Sutton on Sea. The hosts, guests, and befrienders picnicked and enjoyed the cultural exchange. More and more people are coming forward to offer these week-long therapeutic breaks for asylum seekers in Leicester and Leeds.

Again, please know that so many people are inspired and very appreciative of the humanity you and your family showed these fellow human beings.

Heather Luna