Student Action for Refugees (STAR) Campaigns Coordinator Anastasis Mauriac spotlights STAR this December

Written by Anastasis Mauriac


Kate O’Neill – President

Eve Hankin – Secretary

Grace Campbell – Treasurer

Josh Williams – Project Coordinator

Sara Varachhia  – Publicity Officer

Anastasis Mauriac – Campaigns Coordinator

Jess Glennie – English Conversation Class Coordinator

Tharuka – Women’s Project Coordinator

Megan Goddard – Film Coordinator

‘I love STAR and everything we do, it’s the best thing I’ve done at uni and getting to run these projects that I’m so passionate about is such an honour. I’m super excited for everything we have planned this year and can’t wait to work hard to keep making a difference in Birmingham with our lovely team’ (President – Kate O’Neill)

Who We Are – National level

Student Action for Refugees (STAR) is the national network of students building a more understanding and just society where refugees are welcomed and can thrive in the United Kingdom. Our vision is a society where refugees are welcomed and can thrive as equal members of the community. STAR is also a national charity that offers non-judgmental support by befriending refugees, campaigning for them, and raising awareness. 

Who We Are – Birmingham level

STAR has local branches in many cities in the United Kingdom, including Birmingham. At STAR Birmingham, we aim to provide a safe, friendly environment when interacting with refugees. We have regular volunteering sessions throughout the week. We also run campaigns on refugee issues, such as equal access to university, indefinite detention and family reunions, and organise events to raise the money needed to enable our volunteering sessions to run and be improved.



‘It’s been a busy couple of months getting everything prepared, but we’re finally ready, and extraordinarily excited, to launch the projects, welcome our volunteers, and start making a positive impact in our community.’ (Josh Williams – Project Coordinator)

Currently, we run the following activities for asylum seekers and refugees in Birmingham:

English Conversation Classes are run weekly on a thursday 3-6  in the Edgbaston hotel in the evening. It is an opportunity to share some useful language skills with the individuals staying at a local accommodation centre. Different topics are covered every week and it is a chance for the adults at the centre to put their English language into practice. No previous experience is needed, and not regular commitment required. You just need to sign up for each week that you want to volunteer. Only requirement is to have attended the training at the beginning of the semester.

‘I joined STAR to create a safe space for refugee families to come together and enjoy the world of film’ (Megan Goddard – Film Coordinator)

Women’s Project Sessions include makeup lessons, henna sessions, arts and craft and sewing workshops. They will run approximately once a month and will take place in a women and families accommodation centre in Birmingham City Centre. Volunteers will meet at the university or Selly Oak to take the train together to the project. Female presenting volunteers only are allowed to maintain the female safe space we create for residents of the hostel.  

Film Nights run twice a month in the city centre accommodation centre. Volunteers will chat with hostel residents before and after the session and discuss the film. Snacks will be provided for residents and volunteers. Volunteers will travel together from the university and Selly Oak.  

Football Sessions: We have partnered with Sport4Life to offer football sessions for asylum seekers. Organised every Monday afternoon, volunteers will come to the sessions to play football and chat with participants. 

‘I am really proud to be the English conversation class coordinator this year. We have lots of wonderful volunteers and it’s brilliant to have the project up and running, with around 30 participants each week. I have loved being part of STAR throughout my time at UoB and the opportunity to make a real difference in our community on an issue I am really passionate about’. (Jess Glennie – English Conversation Class Coordinator)

Recent and Upcoming Events

4th of December – Quiz night: 7:30 pm-10:30 pm

We have regular volunteering sessions with English classes every Thursday from 5-7 and

Football every Monday afternoon. The Women’s session and Film session will start soon as well. 

We are currently organising a Panel speaker event that will happen at the beginning of Semester 2 with speakers ranging from activism, political and academic backgrounds.  We are planning to organise more socials in the second semester so stay tuned!

‘It’s been a busy couple of months getting everything prepared, but we’re finally ready, and extraordinarily excited, to launch the projects, welcome our volunteers, and start making a positive impact in our community.’ (Josh Williams – Project Coordinator)

How to Get Involved

No previous experience is necessary! We have a new volunteer training at the beginning of semester 2 so follow our Instagram (@Starbirmingham) to stay updated.

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