#REFUGENES: What do refugees look like?

Dawn O’Porter’s new campaign asks members of British public: ‘Do you have refugenes?’

What do you think refugees look like? Do they look helpless? Malnourished? Suspicious? Different?

Turns out they look just look like you and me. Sometimes, as Dawn O’Porter’s new campaign points out,  they even look like celebrities.

Stars from the worlds of music, fashion and broadcast all joined together in the Regugenes campaign to highlight the number of people in Britain who have a family history involving flight from conflict.

Take singer Rita Ora for instance. Her family fled conflict in their home of Kosovo when Rita was only one year old.  When they arrived in the UK, Rita’s mother couldn’t speak a word of English. Despite being a certified doctor her qualifications didn’t count in Britain and she was forced to retrain. Now she works as a psychiatrist for the NHS while Rita’s dad own pubs throughout London.

Afrobeat singer and song-writer Yasmin Kadi also spoke out about her family’s struggle in the Help Refugees video.

“I’m originally from Freetown in Sierra Leone, West Africa,” she said. “During the 1991 civil war my family and I were attacked at 4am in our home by four truckloads of soldiers. We were dragged outside the house and my dad was nearly beaten to death with the base of countless guns.

“He was then taken away for two weeks. My dad suffered from severe epilepsy, and having been snatched away without his medication, we presumed him dead.

“The day after the attack, I clearly remember scrubbing his blood off the floor. I was 11 years old.”

Despite the horrors endured by Yasmin’s family, and countless others, the charity aims to show the positive impact refugees can bring to their new homes.

Have you got #refugenes ? More people than you realize do! @helprefugeesuk

A video posted by Dawn O'Porter (@hotpatooties) on

“People with refugenes have helped make Britain great,” said charity founder Dawn O’Porter. “If given a chance, who knows what today’s refugees could do tomorrow.”

The TV presenter launched Help Refugees following the success of the #HelpCalais social media campaign aiming to help refugees stuck in “The Jungle” in Calais.

The charity now provides more aid to refugee camps across Europe than any other organisation. They hope the new campaign will help to end the discrimination faced by refugees coming to Britain.

The campaign follows the Government’s announcement that enough local authority places have been found to resettle the 20,000 Syrian refugees in the next four years.

What are your thoughts on the new campaign? Let us know on Twitter.

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