Bees & Refugees was founded in 2020 by Ali Alzein, to support newly settled refugees in London. We aim to provide technical and logistical support for refugees and others by supplying a starter beekeeping kit including a hive, as well as a space for their hives which are also helping the UK’s native black bee grow and flourish after near extinction.
Ali, originally from Syria, arrived in the UK as a refugee in 2014, escaping the brutality and destruction cause by the Syrian government. Ali, who began work in London’s luxury fashion industry would regularly return to refugee camps to volunteer whilst jugging his job.
Inspired by his grandfather, a farmer who kept bees in Syria, Ali began keeping bees in London to help with his own mental health, having witnessed first-hand the horrors of war and refugee camps. After finding this extremely beneficial for his mental health, he decided to use beekeeping to support others who faced similar experiences.
Ali decided to leave his job and founded Bees & Refugees to provide therapeutic relief for fellow refugees from Syria who were suffering from the trauma and destruction witnessed in their homeland and struggling to settle into their adopted country. Working initially with women and children. The organisation has since grown, to work with local schools, vulnerable children and communities in Hammersmith and Waterloo.
To date, we have offered community beekeeping workshops, as well as sessions in schools, supporting 80 vulnerable children. We have also offered paid workshops to different community gardens, advocated for ethical beekeeping practices & generated enough income to increase the number of our beehives. Establishing 20 native black bee colonies across London, in a crucial step to boost their numbers having been pushed to the brink of extinction.