WoWFest19 Bluecoat, Liverpool

Two storytelling events are taking place on Thursday, 23rd May at the Bluecoat as part of WoWFest, the Liverpool Literature festival.

I want you to know: A Writing Workshop for Refugees and People from Refugee Families

This is a writing workshop for refugees to tell their stories. Many times, refugees are asked to talk about why they became refugees. We’ll be focusing on stories that you want to tell, whatever those stories might be. The workshop is open to refugees at all levels of writing experience.  It is part of Barbed Wire Fever, a creative exploration of what it means to be a refugee (funded by Arts Council England). www.barbedwirefever.com

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RefuAid Language Scholarship Programme set for Liverpool launch

Mohib Ullah, who is leading on the project for RefuAid told us, “We are working with one of our partner schools in Liverpool and will be starting an OET (Occupational English Test accepted by the General Medical Council as an alternative to IELTS for re-qualification) course for healthcare professionals after Easter. The course will be 6 hours a week and will initially run for 6 weeks, starting on Wednesday the 24th of April. We welcome applications from refugee/asylum seeker doctors, nurses and midwives etc. They can also email me in person at mohib@refuaid.org I will be happy to answer any questions they may have. During the course, we will pay travel expenses up to £500, and the exam fee when applicants are deemed as exam-ready by their tutors.”

Action for Refugees think that this is a brilliant initiative with potentially great benefits to candidates and the communities they will serve. We wish RefuAid every success with this important programme.

Brexit, EU Settlement Scheme and the forced (im)mobility of EU citizens in the UK

Guest post by Agnieszka Martynowicz and Agnieszka Radziwinowiczówna. Agnieszka M. is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Edge Hill University. Her research interests include migration(s), criminal justice and human rights, in particular in the context of imprisonment and immigration detention. Her current research focuses on deportations of Polish citizens after their contact with the criminal justice system. Agnieszka R. is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton, where she is undertaking a two-year research project ‘Brexit and Deportations: Towards a Comprehensive and Transnational Understanding of a New System Targeting EU Citizens’ (BRAD).

Originally posted on the Border Criminologies blog. 

The Brexit Referendum of 23rd June 2016 became one of the most defining moments in British politics and social life in at least a generation. Achieving an overall majority of 51.9%, the supporters of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) secured a narrow victory. The UK Government started the exit process at the end of March 2017, developing a host of new policies and legislation to enable the ‘disentangling’ of UK’s current ties with the EU. This includes pursuing a goal of ending the freedom of movement (FOM) for EU citizens into the UK on (or soon after) the exit date.

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Reflecting realities, preparing new professionals

Karen Morris sharing her collection of refugee-themed picturebooks at the AfR conference, 2017

Karen Morris writes

In schools and other settings, our graduates play a significant role in the lives of pupils and encounter personal, ethical and moral dilemmas which are often unconnected with the taught curriculum. They need to be able to draw on a teaching philosophy that is distinctive and personally informed but reflects ethical values and principles. Such a philosophy needs to be responsive to the demands of a changing world where social, political, economic and environmental issues have a significant impact on the lives of children and young people. As a primary English tutor this is a key part of my role in preparing future professionals. Continue reading

RefuAid seminar results in action for refugees

Anna Jones, co-founder of RefuAid, at the Action for Refugees seminar at Edge Hill University.

Delegates to the RefuAid seminar held at Edge Hill University’s Ormskirk campus on 20 March were enthralled by the presentations, not least by the moving testimony given by former client Naima, who told us about her former life in Libya and the role played by RefuAid in turning her life around. RefuAid co-founder, Anna Jones, explained how the organisation provides practical support to refugees and asylum seekers in key areas of access to language support, education and employment.

Dentist and former RefuAid client Naima shared her powerful story with us.

The audience for the seminar included academic and support staff at EHU as well as visitors from the local community. It was particularly pleasing to welcome a number of refugees and asylum seekers on campus.

Immediately following the presentations, delegates were able to engage in discussion with both the RefuAid representatives and Action for Refugees group members. Much of this discussion concerned the practical support that delegates from our refugee community wanted from RefuAid and from Edge Hill University.

Feedback from delegates has been overwhelmingly positive with many delegates taking the time to thank the presenters personally for the seminar. One email received from a delegate since the event included the following, “I’m so pleased to be at the university and thank you for the help you have given me.”

Since the event, applications for support from RefuAid have been prepared by some delegates with the help of Action for Refugees group members. Referrals have also been made to other organisations with a view to providing expert support for individuals to gain employment. Plans for future working between RefuAid and the University are being put in place. Action for Refugees is keen that the knowledge exchanged at this event will provide a basis for a fruitful partnership with RefuAid that will reflects principles of inclusivity, equity, and social justice.

Left to right: Naima and Anna (RefuAid), Malik (Syrian Cultural Centre), Kate (RefuAid), Mike (EHU)

 

Migrants and Refugees in Education: A toolkit for teachers

Learn how to teach and support young people across the globe affected by violence, conflict or displacement.
This free, online course developed by the British Council is designed to help teachers support students who are dealing with trauma.
Experienced teachers talk about the challenges, what they have learnt and the strategies they have used when teaching migrant and refugee learners both in countries affected by conflict and in host countries. All teachers and volunteers working with refugees and migrant learners can find ideas and strategies that can be used to better understand learners. The course helps to build inclusive classrooms and develop learners’ confidence, taking into account the languages they know and their cultures.
Click here to find out more.

Community links: supporting refugees in West Lancs

Lawrence Smye Rumsby works as a caseworker supporting refugees in Skelmersdale. Formerly a primary headteacher, he is officially ‘retired’!  Lawrence also plays a key part in ‘Skem International’, a voluntary group formed of members of the community including refugees. Action for Refugees’ links with local groups ensure we are in touch with refugees placed in our community. This is important to make sure that our work reflects their interests and needs.

Lawrence writes:

I started my caseworker contract officially on 1st August of last year, but had been volunteering in a similar role for over two years. My contract with the Council Voluntary Services (CVS) covers 4.5 hours casework with related admin, each week, but there is always more demand than this. In Skelmersdale, two regular weekly events for refugees, Wednesdays (4-6pm in the Ecumenical Centre) and on Fridays (2.30 to 4.30pm in the library) offer an opportunity for contacting me. Both buildings are very central and easily reached by all asylum seekers and refugees, which is important when most don’t have a car or the funds for public transport. Asylum seekers receive approx £35 per week from the government which has to cover everything except housing.

In the first three months I was employed, I dealt with 166 meetings, with 67 separate refugees, from Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Angola, Sudanese, Eritrean, Syria, Jamaica, Burundi, Afghanistan, Turky, Libya, Egypt, Russia & Morocco. Most of those coming to these meetings are young men, reflecting the population in Skelmersdale. I work with volunteers from the community in Skelmersdale to provide a range of support, with funding from the Red Cross to help with volunteers’ expenses. 

There are a wide range of issues raised at meetings. Refugees waiting for a decision on their leave to remain might need help with dealing with the Home Office, for example finding a solicitor, accessing benefits or responding to mail. Continue reading

Women’s Day 2019: Debate, educate and dance

Women refugees can be especially vulnerable. Marking Women’s Day, fundraising, education and dance events are taking place to support work for displaced women. 

Today, UN High Commission for Refugees are fundraising to support more projects like the ‘Women’s Committee of the Future’. Based in Turkey, where over 3 million Syrian refugees were living in 2016, the Urban Refugee Women’s Network, with UNHCR support, developed a support group for women coming together over tea. Continue reading