English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) student courses across Wiltshire College and University Centre have marked refugee week with a moving charity project.

A large cohort of students, who study at either the college's Chippenham, Salisbury and Trowbridge campuses have put together a collection of real-life stories and published these in a book titled 'Journeys to Wiltshire'.

Refugee Week is the world’s largest arts and culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

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Established in 1998 in the UK, the annual festival aligns with World Refugee Day, celebrated globally on 20th June. This year’s event ran from Monday, June 17 to Sunday, June 23.

Wiltshire College and University Centre has around 250 students for whom English is not their first language, including those who have fled warzones in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan and others.

Refugee Week ran from Monday, June 17 to Sunday, June 23Refugee Week ran from Monday, June 17 to Sunday, June 23 (Image: Wiltshire College & University Centre)

Students can often lack confidence, so studying an ESOL course can give them the opportunity to increase their English grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

To conclude the academic year and mark Refugee Week, students collated stories into a book that highlighted their lives and the challenges they faced, before they relocated and settled in Wiltshire. The book was launched at a special event held at the Salisbury campus during Refugee Week.

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Priced at £4, all sales profits will be divided equally between The Refugee Council, Refugee Community Kitchen and The British Red Cross, three charities which support refugees and asylum seekers both in the UK and internationally.

Lecturer in ESOL and English at WCUC, Tom Evans, said: “We are immensely proud of the work we do with students across Wiltshire for whom English is not their first language. The skills these leaners gain on one of our ESOL courses will be hugely beneficial as they settle into new lives in Wiltshire.

“Many students went through immense challenges before relocating to the UK and therefore have very moving and interesting stories to tell about their previous life in another country and the hardships they faced on their journeys to the UK.

"Collating these stories into a book to raise money for charity seemed like the perfect way to raise awareness of the issues our students have faced and to raise money for three wonderful charities that support refugees both in the UK and internationally.”

‘Journeys to Wiltshire’ is still available to buy and can be purchased from Rocketship Bookshop in Salisbury, or from the WCUC Online Shop at shop.wiltshire.ac.uk. The book is available for £4 if collection from a WCUC campus, or will be £6 to include postage to anywhere in the UK.