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To coincide with Bristol Refugee Festival, Fairfield High School held its own festival to celebrate the local refugee community, and in particular those attending the school. This symbolic and happy occasion saw the families of these students invited to Fairfield to enjoy guest speakers, the sharing of experiences, an exhibition commemorating heritage and values, plus cultural food.

Fairfield was privileged to welcome Bristol Refugee Festival organisers and Refugee Ambassadors Sherien Elsheikh, Danny Vincent and former student Reem Elmubarak, whose ongoing work reinforces the values celebration, inclusion, collaboration, integrity and respect within the refugee and sanctuary seeking community.  

A Fairfield student and his family from the local refugee community

This was a poignant time with Fairfield’s event carefully planned during Refugee Festival’s two week period, which later culminated in a wonderful celebration in Queen Square in Bristol, with performances from singers across the world, including Bangladesh, Turkey and the Republic of the Congo.  

Farina Ackerman, Assistant Vice Principal at Fairfield High School, said, “We were very proud and honoured to organise this special event to celebrate our refugee community. Bringing everyone together to share what they want for their school and our world, not to mention the messages conveyed through the heartfelt student exhibition, was extremely powerful.

“A huge thank you to our speakers for their valuable input and all the families who gave us their time to join in the celebrations and view the student-centred exhibition.” 

Reem Elmubarak, Fairfield Alumnus and Refugee Ambassador, added, “Coming to Bristol from Sudan was a daunting and emotional experience. However, the welcome I received from refugee ambassadors and my former school Fairfield, have provided stability and sanctuary, for which I am forever grateful. I am now an ambassador myself to help refugees and asylum seeking families feel welcome, recognise the contribution they make to Bristol, and to organise events to celebrate inclusion and diversity.” 

What home means to me by Reem Elmubarak

In the heart of Sudan , where the Nile winds sing,
Our home echoed love, a cherished spring.
Beneath the sun’s caress, on ancient ground,
Safety and warmth, a heartbeat’s surround.

Then fate unfurled a map anew,
Bristol’s streets embraced a different view
From Khaqrtoum’s glow to Clifton’s air,
Our home transplanted, a journey so rare.

“To me, a home is where you feel loved,
Safe and cherished,” Malala quoted 
Our home is comfort and keeps us motivated 

In each brick of our dwelling, that truth rings,
A sanctuary where family springs.

Bristol’s skyline, a canvas to explore,
Yet Sudan’s echoes in every door.
New accents blend with tales untold,
A quilt of cultures, both young and old.

In the heart of our home, where laughter weaves,
A sanctuary where each soul believes.
From Sudan’s plains to England’s west,
Our home is truly blessed.