Refugees in Coventry joined staff at Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre (CRMC) to mark the International Day of Peace on Friday. It was commemorated with the planting of a peace pole at CRMC’s home and a minutes silence for all those living in or affected by war and persecution.
The idea for the peace pole came from the charity’s social club. This helps people seeking safety in Coventry to get used to their new home. It does this by offering activities such as craft making, free city tours and free events throughout the year to celebrate key dates such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween.
Mary Unsworth organises the social club at CRMC and said the group were keen to recognise the occasion: “Everyone in our social club has fled some kind of war and persecution. Some even have family members who are still in danger. Peace is something that they wish for from their home country, as well as something they have found in Coventry.
“When we speak about the things that they like about living in the city, ‘peace and safety’ are often amongst the first things they always say. That is where the idea to do something for the day came from.”
With the idea in place, members of the group with the help of Mary and other staff at CRMC have spent the past month sourcing and crafting the wood for the pole, before decorating the piece with a poignant message.
Mary said: “We decided to keep the decoration to a minimum, simply writing ‘May peace prevail on Earth’ in a number of different languages, to recognise the number of people from different countries the charity works with that are affected by war.
“It’s also important to remember that regardless of nationality or background, peace is something that we should all be striving for and so can help bring communities together. In a way, how the peace pole was created is symbolic of how peace be achieved; with a team effort.”
The International Day of Peace is a United Nations sanctioned holiday observed annually on 21 September.