Since joining Migrants Organise a few months ago I’ve trekked across different parts of London getting to know the people working within our communities:
Leao runs a church in North West London, his congregation is as a diverse as you’d expect from a busy, urban church and consequently the needs are complex and pressing. He’s feeling increasingly challenged by the complexities of asylum law and how it affects members of his congregation who come to him for help. Together we’re looking at ways to set up as a Legal Advice Clinic in his surgery.
Ardo focuses on building an awareness of TB within her Somali community in West London. As a TB survivor herself she knows how debilitating the illness can be, yet how simple the prevention can be. She explained how stigma can be the killer- it stops people from getting advice, seeking medicine and getting cured. Together we’re supporting Ardo and her colleagues to register as a charity and gain funds.
However, we know this isn’t enough. As a sector we need to grow our power and carve out ways for more migrants and refugee communIties to influence decisions at a structural level. Last year with our support Leao’s church ran a voter registration drive and hustings events in the lead up to the General Election. Whilst a couple of months ago Ardo and her colleagues attended engagement evenings with the head of her local council. With our encouragement they’re also getting involved in a pan-London wide campaign tackling rogue landlords and pushing for genuine affordable housing across London.
Providing excellent services to our communities is integral in meeting the health, wellbeing and rights of vulnerable communities. However, only through building our connections, strengthening our collective voice and increasing our power can we challenge the conditions that define our rights. For migrants and refugees (and their champions), there has never been a more urgent time to do this.
That is why Migrants Organise is focusing on community organising, voter registration drives and campaigns to build our power.
Ffion Wyn Evans
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