On 20th February we were in Brussels – not to sample Belgian waffles, but for something much more important. As part of our Together for Refugees campaign, we greeted our European leaders in Brussels with a giant ice sculpture and a scoop of ice cream - to remind them that when a refugee flees their home, their futures are frozen in time.
Why so icy?
All too often, refugees spend months or years in limbo, having fled their homelands, just waiting for a safe place to call home. As soon as people are forced to flee, their lives are put on hold; their futures' frozen. We know many things are best kept frozen - like ice cream! but not a person's future. That’s why we plonked a giant ice house in front of European Parliament – to make some noise and get our leaders to sit up and listen!
But why a house made of ice, you ask, and why the objects frozen inside? Our icy sculpture represents people's lives which have been frozen in time. What would you miss most if your future was frozen? Being able to work or study? Or even just a simple cup of tea?
Our partner, the IRC have worked with Bilal, a 13yr old Syrian boy living in a camp in Lebanon, who misses his education - he now needs to work from 8am-8pm selling CDs. ‘I feel I'd rather study, that would be better. Studying is better... When I grow up I want to be a teacher. I want to teach Arabic.’ The frozen chalk board represents his desire to return to school and his hopes and dreams for a future as a teacher.
Ben & Jerry’s designer Annie would miss creating exciting images and designs, so we froze a paint set to represent this. ‘Being someone who creates is how I identify myself, and if I didn’t have the tools to continue doing this I’d experience a significant identity crisis and my sense of self-worth would suffer.’
Right now, we’ve got an amazing opportunity in front of us, because our leaders in Europe are discussing the situation facing the most vulnerable refugees. They’re in the process of deciding the fate of a new law that could offer refuge to people who need it most. We want decision makers to understand that they have the power to unfreeze refugees’ futures and that this must be prioritised!
There's a big meeting on 22nd February when European representatives are coming together to discuss this piece of legislation and we want them take an ambitious position. With a loud outcry of public support, we can give refugees the chance to reach a home, safe home. This is your chance to make a difference.
Take action now - sign the petition and show our leaders you care. Share with friends on Facebook, Twitter or with a good old fashioned conversation so we can have an even bigger impact.