Yesterday, Refugee Tales completed their Canterbury Tales inspired pilgrimage in celebration of Refugee Week which ran from 13-21st June. The week long walking marathon saw 47 people make the 80-mile journey from Dover to Oxsted, passing through picturesque countryside and ancient forests. Many others joined the original walkers along the way, sharing stories, music and poetry in the evening.
The pilgrimage has been running for over 20 years now and was set up by Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group in response to the increase in the levels of detainees at Gatwick Airport’s immigration department. New Internationalist states that, “Britain detains 30,000 migrants per year in 10 centres across Britain” with many being asylum seekers who are often denied access to healthcare.
This pilgrimage across the south of England, “is not just an act of protest or support, but a journey of deep reflection on the conditions migrants and refugees experience, at a time when it is needed most”, Refugee Week states. As well as recreating the stories in Chaucer’s work, Refugee Tales serves as a reminder for the condition of the refugee and their unique experience in their quest for hope.