A JOURNALIST who feld his home country to eventually settle in Newport has spoken, on Refugee Day, of the welcome he received.

This week the world will be celebrating Refugee Week a worldwide week of art, cultural and educational festival that celebrates and highlights the contributions, talents, and skills of asylum seekers and refugees.

Today is Refugee Day and, despite the nationwide lockdown, the theme for this year is 'imagine'.

People are being encouraged to take a moment during the day to imagine what it must be like to have to leave everything you know and travel to a foreign land.

Andrea Cleaver, Chief Executive says, “We are asking the public to do two things.

"Firstly, imagine what it would feel like to leave your home, friends and family to seek safety in a foreign land.

"Now imagine what a better welcome would look like and how you can help to create that better welcome.”

One man who experienced the welcoming embrace upon reaching a new country is Newport's Norbert Mbu-Mputu.

Mr Mbu-Mputu arrived in the city in 2005 after having travelled to London from his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


He was working as a journalist, but fled the country after the authorities repeatedly arrested him over his work.

The former UN worker, who has studied and trained in the UK, Belgium and the Congo, said that when he arrived in Wales it was very easy to make friends.

He recalled one incident where, after moving to Corporation Road in the city, he had gone round to his neighbour's house to apologise for the noise he and friends were making.

"Our neighbours were an old couple, " he said.

"When I said sorry about the noise, the said "oh no, it makes us happy to hear you".

Mr Mbu-Mputu said that in his 15 years living in Newport he had never been subjected to racist or prejudicial behaviour.

"I've never been stopped by the police," he said.

"I'm not saying people are not suffering from this abuse, but our experience has been really welcoming." He went on to say that it is vitally important the refugees are given support upon arriving.

He referred to his experience as a journalist proving useful in helping others to settle.

To find out more about Refugee Week, visit celebratinghome.wales