Transforming Lives Through Bees & Refugees

Total raised £1,085

raised so far

14

supporters

Help us transform our farm into a sanctuary for bees, refugees and disadvantaged local communities. Support our project please!

We're still collecting donations

On the 17th July 2023 we'd raised £835 with 12 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

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Introduction

Bees & Refugees’ story is one of resilience and activism. Led by Ali Alzein, a Syrian activist who sought humanitarian protection in the UK, our dedicated team of staff and volunteers is driven by a shared vision of empowerment and social change through beekeeping, regenerative land cultivation and occupational therapy. Our mission is twofold: supporting refugees to find sanctuary and a sense of belonging in the UK while saving the native black bee from extinction. 

We invite you to join us on a transformative journey as we create a safe haven for refugees and disadvantaged communities at our community farm in Otford, Kent, nestled in the gorgeous Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Beauty! Through therapeutic interventions like beekeeping, carpentry, and reconnecting with nature, we are creating a space where individuals who have experienced adversity can rebuild their lives and find a sense of community.

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Ali, delivering a workshop at Oasis farm. 

Progress & Problems

Refugees and disadvantaged communities often face significant challenges regaining autonomy, agency and sense of belonging after displacement experiences and adversity. Many lack safe spaces where they can heal, learn new skills, and connect with others who share similar experiences. To address this gap, Ali created Bees & Refugees in late 2019 to share beekeeping as a restorative practice that provides individuals experiencing anxiety, depression and PTSD with a therapeutic outlet and a sense of place in a new community. Since, Bees & Refugees has made strides in filling the gap of therapeutic and integration services usually inaccessible to vulnerable communities. In April 2023, Bees & Refugees were able to secure a 5-acre plot of land for a secure 5-year lease with a like-minded landowner. We have already begun to refurbish existing buildings on site to create a carpentry woodshop and a beekeeping workshop space as well as beautifully managed landscape for enjoyment. Our bees have been transferred there and they are settling into their new home buzzingly! However, existing infrastructure limitations on our farm hinder our ability to fully realize our vision of creating a sustainable and inclusive community. 

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Our plot is marked in red.

What we need

With the support of passionate volunteers and partnerships with organizations like West London Welcome, Red Cross, Hammersmith Community Gardens Association and Oasis Farm Waterloo, we have already made significant strides towards our mission. During covid lockdowns, we successfully delivered a four-week Beginner's Beekeeping Course via Zoom. We’ve provided programming to nearly 100 asylum seekers and refugees so far in 2023 alone, delivering workshops in a blend of Farsi, Arabic, Spanish and English. Students from our partner schools have re-welcomed Ali for the 2023 season to visit our London hives and continue their learning about themselves and their pollinating community members.  

Now, we want to bring groups to the farm and fulfil our goal of providing a nurturing environment for individuals to thrive through connection with nature and essential regenerative skills like beekeeping, carpentry, and gardening. There are a few essential infrastructure renovations needed in order to bring groups to the farm, including connecting electricity and water to the workshop spaces, repairing roofs to protect the spaces from water and the elements, and insulation. These essential upgrades will enable us to create a sustainable and accessible space where refugees and disadvantaged communities visit the farm and engage with nature therapeutically, build beekeeping, gardening, candlemaking, and carpentry skills, and restoratively foster community.


How you can help: 

So many of you have supported our mission over the years with encouragement, guidance, and purchasing our delicious locally harvested natural honey! We are looking towards our amazing community to help us realise this next step in our vision. Every contribution, no matter the size, will directly fund the crucial renovations needed to transform our community farm into a thriving space for healing, empowerment and learning. 

Your support will make a significant impact on the lives of those seeking solace, growth, and a brighter future.

Breakdown of the goal: 

Fix the roof: £6000 for materials

Electricity: £5000

Water: £4,500 for materials

Composting toilet: £2,000 

Tools & misc: £100 GBP

Total:  £17,600


Our contributions so far and our promised contributions:

£12,000 spent so far on stripping and installing floors, installing windows in the restored chicken coops, and building tables on site

Promised contributions of £2500 labour cost for the roof and £1500 labour cost for water piping


For larger donations, we would like to express our gratitude by offering a special donation reward. We are open to your ideas, and tailoring special experiences for our supporters so please don’t hesitate to reach out and we can collaborate to make something awesome!

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The lovely Sara trimming the hedges 

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Planting strawberries 1686927921_354728239_264502399585748_1305307648299985368_n.jpg

Processing beeswax and making candles

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1686928339_235867652_568629921163070_8891960235001898996_n.jpgThe insect hotels we build to support solitary pollinators.

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Rewards

This project offered rewards

£150 or more

Personalized Farm Tour

Enjoy a private guided tour of our community farm, where you'll get up close and personal with our bees, explore the gardens, and learn about sustainable farming practices. A truly unique and educational experience!

£400 or more

Day Experience

Replenish with a day of workshops, a farm visit, and a meal together for a group of your choice, whether it is a charitable group of your friend group, 5-10 people. Your support, your choice!

£750 or more

1 week holiday in a beautiful cottage in Italy

Escape to the breathtaking landscapes of Italy with our holiday reward! Generously offered by a friend, enjoy a relaxing stay in a charming cottage nestled in Tuscan Appennines. Immerse yourself in the local culture, savor delicious cuisine, and create unforgettable memories. A perfect getaway for nature lovers and travel enthusiasts alike. Limited availability, so secure this extraordinary experience by making a donation of £750 or more

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