Hello Derby… A Festival of Welcome is the flagship event of Derby’s Refugee Week 2023 and will
see a range of activities from dance, music, and drinks tasting from around the world, providing visitors with a true insight into those who have fled their homelands, but through fun,
creativity, conversation and compassion.
Visitors will have the opportunity to meet people seeking sanctuary and the local organisations who support them, celebrate different cultures, ask questions and learn more about the issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers.
Andrew Jackson, Chair of Derby City of Sanctuary, said:
“It’s amazing to be able to celebrate the work that has been carried out over the last 10 years to make Derby a place of welcome for the many people who have sought sanctuary in our city. Charities, education providers, cultural organisations, faith communities and businesses have united to ensure that those fleeing war and persecution can call Derby home. Derby has been at the forefront of the national city of sanctuary movement and we know our work has inspired other areas in how they welcome refugees and those seeking asylum.”
Dan Webber, Events Programmer, Derby Museums, said:
“We’re thrilled to be co-producing HelloDerby with the Derby City of Sanctuary Network. Derby Museums has always strived to produce events and exhibitions which truly reflect the communities of Derby and Derbyshire and create a sense of welcome and inclusion for everyone who steps through the doors.”
Gerson and his wife Katya fled their homeland of El Salvador and have been involved in many of
Derby’s creative projects for sanctuary seekers. Gerson said:
“Honestly, it was difficult because it was something that nobody thinks to leave your own country and leave behind everything you have worked for, all your family and friends. The place that
you love. You don’t know what is going to happen to you and you start from zero in a completely
different place. We had to leave because we were at risk from the gangs and extortion. One day we were attacked at home in front of our children. We were threatened with death. At first Derby was difficult, because of the cultures, no knowing anyone, for the children, who had to start school with no friends and not knowing the language. But we have met the most amazing community and have fallen in love with Derby. Being able to go out with no fear and to feel safe. We would love for people to come to the festival to give us a chance to let them know us not just as asylum seekers but as people that are willing to provide something good and special to the community! That we want to be part and work hard to be a member of, and a good friend.”