Yesterday morning I was driving through the rain listening to the presenters on the Today Programme on the BBC trying their best to wind us all up about refugees housed in hotels. It came as a breath of fresh air to hear the Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin speak compassionately about the situation.

‘We’re not dealing with numbers,’ she said. ‘We’re dealing with human beings, with people. We need to treat them with dignity and respect. We need to feel the pain that is felt when people are separated from one another.’

That’s it exactly, isn’t it? So simple when you say it like that. But we all know what happens when people are dehumanised, and the first step in dehumanising people is the way we speak about them. Talk about an invasion, calling humans illegals all contribute to a process of dehumanisation, which I have found the BBC is participating in more and more, listing each day the number of ‘migrants’ that have crossed the Channel.

I designed the Courage Collection a couple years ago in response to the outrage so many expressed that the RNLI was committed to rescuing people crossing the Channel. I also wanted to support Women for Refugee Women, an incredible charity.

Recently Eliza and I had a lovely night in London celebrating their 15th anniversary. And I was reminded, listening to the radio yesterday, of a speech given by one of their members in which she said that in this country at the moment, love often feels like a radical act of resistance. It is a language that is sounding increasingly out of place in the hum and buzz of mounting fear and hysteria surrounding the refugee situation. This government is more concerned with turning us against one another than helping to find solutions for the problems that exist, no matter how inconvenient they are.

Eliza and Sarah at the 15th Anniversary of Women for Refugee Women

All images: Simon Tang

Women for Refugee Women is a remarkable charity because they work at several different levels. They advocate for change, holding the government accountable for their treatment of refugee and asylum seeking women. Eliza and I spoke to two young solicitors who worked with the charity to take the government to court for its treatment of women at Derwentside. They also offer important practical help to the network of more than 300 women they support – with learning English and everything that comes with navigating a new country. During covid they made sure these women had laptops and remained connected, for instance. Combatting isolation is crucial, and many off the women there spoke about how much they enjoyed the drama and performance classes that Women for Refugee Women also organise. They made lasting friendships in these classes which provided spaces where they could find their own voices again, tell their stories, and feel that they were being heard. 

Several women read poems that they had written during these classes, and though they had come to the UK from different backgrounds and countries, there was a universal message in their words about self-acceptance and love.  One of the poems had me in tears. It was read by Olivia and I am so pleased that I now have a video of her reading it. She has an incredible presence. I’ve copied the words below.These are words we all need to hear, and I hope one day soon, this kind of self-love speak won't sound so radical. Can we all promise ourselves we will try to practice it a bit more?

Next week is The Big Give. Between 29 November and 6th December, all donations to the charities taking part will be matched. If you are thinking of donating to a charity this year, I would encourage you to think of Women for Refugee Women. Your money will be well spent.



Olivia reading 'Say yes to my body'


Say yes to my body


My body is me, under this body

My body looks great and hot

My body has been thriving under the constraints of life for a few decades

My body is out to seek peace and pursuit it

I’m saying YES to my body


My body works in sync with my mind and my heart

It is ok to feel irritable, soreness, restless, muscle aches, tired…

That is a healthy way to show that my body can respond to danger

To block this response

I take time out and focus on [positive thoughts]

I’m saying YES to my body


My body has been crushed and sank into deep waters.

Depths where there is no foothold

My body chooses to stay up to date

Against all unpleasant experiences

My body has been rescued from the deep waters

I’m saying YES to my body


My body is mobile, it’s taken me to places and within different audiences

I enjoy moving my body

This keeps it healthy and active

My body is productive

It has brought three human beings to life!

I’m free to take my body to another level

In any way that I’m comfortable with, I don’t need to ask for anyone’s permission

I’m saying YES to my body


My Body is me under this body

My body looks great and hot

Embrace your body, don’t wait for others to do it for you

If my body offends you, then simply turn your face to one side as I pass

My body is my best friend and ally

I’m saying YES to my body.


Sarah Day