Allyship is rare – it is a long process of building relationships based on trust and commitment. Allyship does not simply mean to help each other, but rather supporting each other in the most challenging areas that you may face.
HOST International has done great work in being an important ally to us, Project Stand Up (PSU), over the past 18 months. For example, they use their international networks to identify opportunities for us and support us in applying, receiving grants and managing projects.
Furthermore, HOST has played the role of being our ally by listening and shining a spotlight on our voices which we feel are often unheard as youth and refugees. An example of this is when HOST faced many barriers for us to join a recent overseas conference on transformative leadership. Due to our refugee status we were unable to travel to present in person, however, HOST worked hard to convey the importance of us presenting. As a result we were able to present via video and share our valuable experiences and lessons learnt with the global forum.
HOST has always supported us by letting us speak for ourselves whenever possible, not expecting special recognition for being an ally, and not taking credit for the ideas of the group. Instead, HOST makes the space for us to put our ideas on the table. They’ve helped PSU find Vidushi who is a volunteer app designer and helped us to create our app to promote shared responsibilities at home between men and women.
HOST has stood by us and advised us during difficult times. As refugees working with HOST International it has been very valuable to us because they did not see or label us as refugees, they saw us as young adults with potential. Often young refugee voices do not get heard but here is where PSU is a positive example. HOST International uses their skills, network and expertise to create opportunities for us.
To stand as an ally with PSU, it is important to realise the skills that youth and adults can bring and how they can work together for overall success. PSU and HOST now move forward to create a strong bond by using the method of Youth Adult Partnership; also strengthening communication by understanding each other’s values can result in seeing each other as equals.
Two allied partners often have different benefits that they enjoy. HOST has given lots of benefits to Project Stand Up. Does HOST benefit from Project Stand Up? The answer is yes! HOST is able to demonstrate to the world best practice on how to work successfully with refugees and lead the way on how to empower refugees. They can also share our onward journey to create a global movement of youth who “Stand Up” for change in their communities.