SWAN WSWD 2016 Statement: European Social Work Day of Solidarity with Refugees JUNE 5TH


In conjunction with the European Association of Schools of Social Work we are announcing that the 5 June 2016 will be a European Social Work Day of Solidarity with Refugees.

The refugee crisis in Europe continues. It is estimated that two children a day drown in the Mediterranean, that 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children have gone missing in Europe, that desperate refugees are being held in the most appalling conditions across Europe.

On the 5 June (the first day of Refugee Week, 2016) we call on social work students, practitioners, academics and those who have retired from front line work to join us and organise to travel to their closest refugee hotspot. The purpose is to do three things: 

  1. To take material goods and solidarity to refugees and agencies working with refugees on the ground;
  1. To witness the plight of refugees, and if appropriate, carry out some emergency social work support; and
  1. To gather testimony from the refugees. We want to gather evidence of material hardship, of unaccompanied children, of split families, of trauma and mental health issues. These will form the basis of a report that will appear on both SWAN and EASSW’s website, can be presented to national government and form part of a broader European report that we intend to submit to the EU parliament.


In Britain we will be working with local campaigning organisations in Calais and Dunkirk, travelling from Dover early on the morning of 5 June.

If you want to travel with us we are asking that groups form in towns and cities across the country to start fundraising and working out logistics.

We will hold a national organising meeting for 1 or 2 representatives of each travelling group in the middle of May.

We call upon SWAN groups and Schools of Social Work across Europe to join with us – identify your local hotspot, work with the grass roots agencies on the ground and join our day of solidarity.

On World Social Work Day why not commit to joining a day of action that puts social work values at the centre of our activity?

If you are interesting in more details of the 5 June events please contact Michael Lavalette on lavalem@hope.ac.uk

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