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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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

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

Manchester Event: ‘Offering linguistic hospitality’ an Arabic language workshop

Organised by the University of Glasgow and the Islamic University of Gaza (Palestine), a workshop in Manchester, 8th March 2019, 2pm – 4pm at the Friends Meeting House.

This workshop will discuss the importance of giving a space to the languages of people seeking asylum and/or people who have refugee status. Showing respect and appreciation for home languages people bring with them can facilitate integration and promote wellbeing.  During the workshop the organisers will also offer a free Arabic language taster (for beginners) as an example of a refugee language that can be learnt to offer ‘linguistic hospitality’ and to move ‘towards’ someone in their home language. We will also give information on the Online Arabic from Palestine language course that was developed collaboratively by a team based at the University of Glasgow (within the UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts) and at the Arabic Center of the Islamic University of Gaza, Palestine.

Tea and coffee will be available. The workshop is free of charge, but places will be limited, so booking is essential. More information is available here: Workshop_Flier-Manchester

To reserve a place, please write by the 6th of March to: Nihaya.Jaber@glasgow.ac.uk.

 

Upcoming RefuAid AfR Seminar 20th March 2019

Action for Refugees are delighted to welcome Anna Jones, RefuAid co-founder, to campus to speak about the innovative work of this award-winning NGO.

RefuAid was founded in 2015 in an effort to provide a practical response to forced migration for refugees and asylum-seekers living in the UK. Their primary focus is to provide solutions to the main barriers facing refugees trying to restart their life in the UK: finance, re-qualification and language tuition.

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Migration Working Group North-West

Action for Refugees supports the Migration Working Group North-West, led by Edge Hill academic Dr Zana Vathi. Members of AfR are affiliated to this new group, which brings together academics and activists across the region working in, or researching migration in the North-West. Affiliated members beyond Edge Hill include arts, health and housing organisations based in the region.

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Getting to University: support

Did you apply for university when you were 18 or 19, or go back to study as an adult? You may remember the application process as challenging: trying to find out what might work best for you from many options, work out what you could afford, perhaps, and convince your chosen institution that they wanted to give you a place.

If you want to go to university in the UK and are from a refugee background, there may be a number of additional barriers.  In common with other students from a less affluent background, some of this will be in the form of resources (the chance to travel to visit different institutions before applying, for example) Some of the members of AfR have supported applicants, and report that they may also face hidden costs, such as taking English language tests. In some cases students from a refugee background have been asked to pay international rate fees.

Some organisations have recognised these barriers and offer support. Continue reading