Giving a Refuweegee welcome

Team CYCJ did our bit for charity when we offered our services to Refuweegee, Glasgow’s newest charity which provides welcome packs to refugees arriving in Glasgow. Nina Vaswani explains why even the smallest effort can have a big impact: 

We’ve been talking a lot at CYCJ recently about Adverse Child Experiences, and the impact of loss and trauma on children.  So you’d think that immersing myself in stories of loss, trauma and bereavement on a regular basis might have hardened me a little bit.  Not so.  Hearing more and more in the news about the plight of refugee families and, in particular, watching the incredibly harrowing BBC Two documentary Exodus: Our Journey to Europe managed to reduce me to tears (OK, so I admit the programme actually had me sobbing).  I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to live somewhere that is not safe; to be forcibly displaced from my home; and to have to face many hurdles, challenges and often dangers in order to simply end up somewhere where, sadly, you might not even feel welcome.  And to experience that as a child, well……

Unable to get their stories out of my mind I ended up chatting to colleagues about it the next day.  We all agreed that we would like to help, even in some small way, and as an organisation we also wanted to get involved in some charitable activities.  Enter Refuweegee.  Refuweegee is a very new charity (only receiving its charitable status a few weeks ago) that was set up to collate donations and provide welcome packs to recently arrived persons in the city.  Providing a warm welcome in true Glasgow style, the charity operates with the motto ‘We’re all fae somewhere’, and all packs include a welcome letter from a ‘weegie’ (a Glaswegian), essential items and little things that help people understand life in Glasgow (maps, tunnocks tea cakes – you get the gist).


Last week a small team of volunteers from CYCJ headed down to the Refuweegee donation drop-off centre (the rather fancy term for a half-renovated basement off George Square) to help collate essential items for two newly arrived families and to make up welcome packs.  Sorting through school uniforms, shoes, toys, and woolly hats for tiny children, the enormity of what Refuweegee do, and the sheer humanity behind their operation hit home.  We left feeling very humbled, but glad that we could help in even the smallest way, with their important work.

Refuweegee is now beginning to expand into other Local Authority areas, and is using its experience and influence to get involved with policy and campaigning.  The welcome packs still remain a key part of what they do, and Refuweegee are always happy to accept donations of essential items.  To find out how you can get involved please visit .


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