Dr amanda wise & dr jan ali commonwealth of Australia 2008

Initiative Title: The Distance We Have Travelled: The real experience of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

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Initiative Title: The Distance We Have Travelled: The real experience of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Organised by: Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust

Contact Details: Emma Britain, Devonshire House, University Precinct Centre, Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9PL
Ph: 0161 275 2920
Email: rrarchive@manchester.ac.uk

Funded by: Self-funded.

Time Period of Initiative: Established in 2005.

Number of participants involved: N.A.

Target Group: Somali, Kurdish and Afghani communities in Greater Manchester.

Project Description: The Distance We Have Travelled was created by the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust and began in April 2005. It is a project aimed at recording life- stories of three refugee communities in the Greater Manchester area. Members of the Somali, Kurdish and Afghani communities have been interviewed about their experiences of having to flee their own troubled countries and making a new life here in Britain.

The project has been led by Trust Education Outreach Coordinator, Jackie Ould. Local artist Kevin Dalton-Johnson has worked developing the exhibition and its supporting ceramics and art with refugee students in Whalley Range High School for girls and City College, Manchester. The interviews have been collected by outreach workers and sessional workers from the respective refugee communities. These life stories have been incorporated in an exhibition that helps to explain the realities of the refugee experience, and challenge the hostile images frequently found in the media. Video artist Humberto Velez has worked with both Kevin Dalton-Johnson and Anisa Dani to document the experience of those involved in the project.

The exhibition consists of 4 wings, mounted on a lino floor. The floor is a map of the world with footprint trails of the journeys some of the refugees interviewed have made from their home countries to Britain. One wing focuses on the wider Refugee experience in Britain. The other three wings focus on Somalia, Kurdistan, and Afghanistan. They include positive images of these places and maps, with short text explaining the reasons for refugee movement; positive images of these communities in Manchester, overlaid with excerpts from their life story interviews. The exhibition boards also include shelves that hold ceramic artwork produced by refugees in a series of workshops that have been led by Kevin.

Successes and Challenges: Exhibition has been well-received by more than 6,000 people across 11 locations.

What evaluation (if any) was conducted: N.A.

Initiative Title: The Peace Alliance

Organised by: The Peace Alliance

Contact Details: 117 Bruce Grove, Tottenham, London N17 6UR
Ph: 020 88089439
Email: info@peacealliance.org.uk

Funded by: Local government councils, business groups

Time Period of Initiative: Established in 2001, annual Week of Peace celebration

Number of participants involved: Various numbers at different activities organised by the alliance. Over 5,000 participants engage in Week of Peace activities.

Target Group: Local residents and community organisations within the extensive locations covered by the Alliance.

Project Description: The Peace Alliance is an independent voluntary organisation working to reduce the fear of crime, and to promote peace in the community. The Peace Alliance was formed as a result of community reactions against local criminality. Initially the peace alliance sought to establish links within local faith, voluntary and community organisations as a means to arrange a themed ‘Week of Peace’, which aimed to annually celebrate the diversity of cultures and to confront any impediments to this celebration. The Peace Alliance key objective is to reduce the fear of crime within local communities by:

  • Promoting peace and good citizenship

  • Restoring a sense community and involving all communities in a concerted effort towards community safety

  • Engaging and working with young people

The Peace Alliances develops versatile projects and events to promote peace and address community safety issues. These include the annual Week of Peace celebrations, borough based breakfast meetings, local projects in partnership with community groups, youth events, specialist support to families of fatal victims of crime, developing community leadership and supporting community crime reduction initiatives. The Peace Alliance is committed to linking and working with other community organisations to promote a community safety message; discussing the issues and likely solutions to issues of crime; assisting in the development of positive change. Examples of projects developed by The Peace Alliance:

Peace Walk: The Peace Walk began with a multi-faith service held outside the Town Hall. The aim of the peace walk was to establish an event within the midst of problematic communities to represent cultural diversity and community cohesion through displays of peace assemblies, sports events, as well as faith and community based action.

Police Open Days: In reaction to numerous allegations of pupils carrying knives, and fights having occurred from between various schools, a day of liaison between police and senior pupils was conducted to promote understanding throughout the schooling community.

Successes and Challenges: The Week of Peace organised by the Peace Alliance has been very successful with over 5,000 local residents taking part; statistics gathered illustrated a significant reduction in crime during the Week of Peace.

What evaluation (if any) was conducted: N.A.

Initiative Title: Camden Hip Hop Café

Organised by: Kentish Town Community Organisation

Contact Details: Masood Lone, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE
Ph: 020-7278 4444
Email: Masood.Lone@camden.gov.uk

Funded by: Kentish Town Community Organisation and London Borough of Camden's Equalities and Social Inclusion Team.

Time Period of Initiative: Established in March 2006; monthly events.

Number of participants involved: 70-100 participants

Target Group: Youths from various ethnic and religious backgrounds

Project Description: Launched in March 2006, the aim of the Café Hip Hop project is to encourage young people to tackle topical issues such as social cohesion, violence and youth crime through fun, attractive and positive activities. The project was developed in order to tackle issues relating to barriers to education and employment, social exclusion, and to help reduce youth crime in Camden. The Café Hip Hop has been developed by the Kentish Town Community Organisation [KTCO] with the support of the London Borough of Camden's Equalities and Social Inclusion Team.

In July 2005 the borough found itself at the centre of the terrorist attacks on London, with two of the bomb attacks taking place in the borough. As one of the most ethnically diverse parts of the capital, with a large Muslim population, Camden Council was acutely aware of the risks to social cohesion as people came to terms with what had happened. The Social Inclusion Team revisited its strategy, looking at ways to strengthen the strong sense of community, trust and understanding between all of the people who live and work in Camden. A large number of young people are often found on the streets around Kentish Town and Camden Town where there is also an endemic drugs culture.

The aim was consistent with those pursued by KTCO Directors for many years, namely to tackle head on drugs, gang violence and the need for excellence in education concentrating on academic pursuit. Many of the current youth leaders used to belong to gangs themselves and have lived in the area for many years. They were familiar with the needs of the youth and polled opinion amongst youths on the street whether they would be interested in the Café Hip Hop format. At one event, a former gang member from Harlesden had a discussion forum on his background of gang warfare, drugs and gun violence, giving his experiences of how he has rehabilitated himself. Inspector John Daly from Camden Police then led a debate about Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO) issued by the police and whether they were having a positive or negative effect on youth freedoms.

Successes and Challenges: Key young members (aged under 16) of a Somali gang in Camden have left and are in the process of rehabilitating themselves through guidance from KTCO youth leaders. One member of the largest Somali gang in Camden (Over 18) has left the gang and has been sponsored by KTCO for full-time higher education. Counselling from some of the Café Hip Hop speakers has helped dim the gloss and excitement that draws many young people to gang life and crime. This has been the first real interaction between white and BME youth. Parents from all backgrounds (White/BME) have come in with their children to ensure their children attend and listen to the speakers and debates.

What evaluation (if any) was conducted: KTCO directors and youth workers review each event in terms of activities conducted as well as participant turnout and satisfaction. The project has received a very positive response from the young people who attended. There has been a high level of take up, with between 70 and 100 young people attending the sessions held since the launch of the project.

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