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Education determines what we harvest in the future

It is our absolute pleasure to welcome Alina Burkart as a trainee from Mission 21 to our team of five qualified caseworkers at Centre for Refugees (CFR). Our casework crew really is the beating heart of our community, providing absolutely vital and personalised humanitarian assistance, medical and psychosocial support, emergency response, living assistance and regular support at meetings with immigration and other social services for more than 200 of our clients.

A mission driven organisation

Based in Switzerland, Mission 21 is built around the philosophy that ‘through education, we can determine our own future’ and is engaged in 20 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, supporting sustainable development and humanitarian aid. The mission has been working closely with CFR since 2010, sending qualified young adults to Hong Kong, who become an extremely valuable part of the CFR family.

Alina is part of the ‘PEP! Programme’ at Mission 21, which partners with organisations to offer advanced training and professional experiences in a different cultural and religious environment. In addition, Mission 21 participants gain a deeper insight ino the everyday life of the host country, broading their intercultural skill sand returning with experienes which will act to amplify the north-south dialogue.

Grassroots experience

Over the last 13 years, CFR has had the privilege to host 10 young professionals from Mission 21, who really have become integral to our community and the holistic support offered to our clients. Mission 21 participants have a life-changing opportunity to fully comprehend the, often terrifying, hardships, persecution and fear which have been experienced by our refugees and asylum seekers, but also to gain a genuine insight into the vibrant cultures, backgrounds and sheer positivity and hope that our community holds for the future. This is a once-in-a-lifetime, grassroots experience which creates impact, empowerment and changes lives!

The global pandemic, has of course affected the opportunity for Mission 21 recruits to work in Hong Kong over the last three years, so we feel truly blessed to welcome Alina, after a pause in the programme.

Alina has arrived with a multitude of skills, experiences and a heartfelt passion, which will be of enormous benefit to serving our community. Of Swiss nationality, Alina is fluent in German, English and Spanish, and also dabbles with French and Italian! Being able to converse in the mother languages of our clients plays a strong part in supporting their needs. With a BSc and Masters in Psychology and over three years working experience in psychotherapy, Alina’s understanding, commitment, compassion and organisational skills have quickly become an invaluable asset!

Being the change

Barbara Grass, teamleader for young@mission21, has been a devoted supporter of the work of CFR. “We know our programmes are valuable when we witness the maturity and passion of our participants, when they return from Hong Kong and Centre for Refugees, having been a fundamental part of a genuine life-transforming experience. These real-world opportunities sincerely make a critical difference, to our young people, to the communities served by organisations such as Christian Action’s CFR, expanding our overall knowledge and understanding of missions and cultures around the world, and ultimately in fulfilling our long-term goal, which is doing our small part to help change the future for all.”

We are excited at the prospect of receiving more participants from Mission 21’s PEP! programme in the future. These young people are fully entrenched in the CFR experience, and become wholehearted members of the family. Little known fact; one of our Mission 21 recruits became such a close friend that he was best man at Centre Manager’s, Jeff Andrews, wedding! We are building true connections that seriously last a lifetime.

Find out more about Mission 21 here:

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