Ben Margolis – how to run a permaculture refugee centre

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“My house is my castle” – it’s a saying many of us will know and live by, but not necessarily admit. There’s a lot of fear involved in having people we’ve never met in our house and rightly so. There are some people who don’t have good intentions, and how are we supposed to know, right? Ben and Sophie Margolis chose to live in a totally opposite way, and over the past few years have welcomed thousands of strangers from around the world into their home, and lives to get them out of oppression, and give them hope and support they need to be able to flourish and contribute as they choose. The Grange is a permaculture project, a small holding, and a home, to a family, and to refugees who often come with memories of very traumatic experiences. Ben tells the story of how they help these people regain their confidence and self worth.

Notes

The Grange – permaculture refugee centre

Their Facebook page

Project began in early 2012

The aim was to integrate the three permaculture ethics on their 10 acre property, but with the focus on aiding people fleeing persecution.

Over the five years of the project, over a 1000 people have stayed for a period of time, and half of that were refugees.

Some of the partner organisations:

Payment for the services provided is means based and very transparent. Groups that need subsidy are encouraged to present their case, and groups that can pay more are told about the former, and often are willing to provide the help.

The process of raising funds.

The Allen Lane Foundation

Think strategically – involve other people as the project evolves.

The need to distance yourself from your project to avoid burnout.

What “the clients” of The Grange do on a daily basis.

Ben talked briefly about his work battling climate change.


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