Who We Are

As an environmental justice organization, we're dedicated to promoting beekeeping as a craft, community-building activity, and therapeutic practice for both refugee and local communities in London. Our mission is to support the flourishing of the UK's native black bee population while providing a meaningful and rewarding activity for those who participate in our programs. Join us in our efforts to create a more sustainable and connected world through the art of beekeeping.

Our History

Meet Ali Alzein, the CEO and Founder of Bees & Refugees, a Syrian activist living in London. After fleeing the brutality and destruction of the Syrian government, Ali was awarded asylum in the UK in 2014. In 2019, he left his work in London’s luxury fashion industry to pursue beekeeping as a therapeutic intervention for himself and other refugees and asylum seekers.

Ali’s grandfather, who owned a farm in Syria, inspired him to keep bees in London as a way to cope with the trauma he experienced as a refugee. After experiencing the benefits of beekeeping firsthand, Ali decided to share this practice with others who faced similar challenges.

In late 2019, Ali founded Bees & Refugees to provide therapeutic relief to fellow refugees who suffered from the trauma of war and struggled to settle into their new homes. The organization initially worked with women and children, but has since expanded to include vulnerable children and communities in Hammersmith, Waterloo, and Sevenoaks, where they have an exciting new farm.

By introducing beekeeping as a craft, community-building activity, and therapy, Bees & Refugees supports individuals and communities in their healing journey while promoting environmental sustainability. Join us as we continue to reach new communities across London and make a positive impact on the world.


Our Work So Far

At Bees & Refugees, we’re proud to have offered beekeeping workshops to numerous community and school groups, supporting around 80 refugees and asylum seekers and 120 children per year. Our organization has also partnered with community gardens, private, and corporate partners to provide a range of beekeeping, hive building, and bee-related workshops.

Since our founding in 2020, we’ve been committed to expanding our beekeeping efforts and have established 50 native black bee colonies across Greater London. Our work with these colonies has been instrumental in boosting the population of this species, which was previously pushed to the brink of extinction. We’re dedicated to continuing this important work to support the flourishing of native black bees and the broader ecological health of the region.

Join us in our efforts to promote sustainable beekeeping practices, provide therapeutic support to refugees and asylum seekers, and build stronger communities across London.

Our Team

Bees and Refugees is run by Ali, the founder, and Heidi, the Director of Development.

Our three volunteer teams – Events and Fundraising, Digital Strategy and Marketing, and Advocacy and Research – are essential to our mission at Bees & Refugees. Whether you’re interested in event planning, digital marketing, or research, we welcome your support. Join us in promoting sustainable beekeeping and providing therapeutic relief to refugees and asylum seekers by volunteering today., please visit our volunteer page.