Advocacy and Accessories: SolidariTee
More than ‘slacktivism’: the student charity using t-shirts to provide legal aid for refugees and asylum-seekers in Greece.
Legal representation is a humanitarian need. For refugees and asylum seekers, entering a new country is fraught with difficulty, not least because of the incredible complications of navigating a legal and political system that is entirely foreign and inaccessible without inside help. When people are at their most vulnerable, legal aid and information are valuable resources.
SolidariTee was started by a Cambridge student about a year ago, and has since become a nationwide campaign. By combining fundraising with demonstration, the charity makes both a statement and tangible change in the places that matter. Student representatives sell custom-made SolidariTees to wear on the ‘Day of SolidariTee (24th November 2017). One of Pembroke’s representatives is Flora Scott-Barrett, who explained why the campaign is making genuine change, and, in her words. “putting its money where its mouth is”.
The t-shirts have a semi-political slogan; ‘Love Trumps Hate’. By wearing the shirts students can make a visual statement of support for the campaign. But they also raise funds for an NGO called Advocates Abroad. Each t-shirt costs £10, which directly pays for a night of accommodation for a human rights lawyer in Greece. Advocates Abroad offers legal aid to refugees and asylum seekers. Since February 2016 they have ensured that more than 12,000 refugees in Greece are informed of their rights and the asylum procedure. They were created in response to what they call “a catastrophe of indignity and despair” at the Greek border. They train volunteer advocates to operate in crisis situations, offering valuable legal and non-legal aid, pledging to be present, trusted, and reliable.