We work with more than 60 members from over eight different countries, primarily Africa, without prejudice to their immigration status.
Our members have typically been subject to persecution or cruel or inhuman and degrading treatment, at the hands of state-sponsored officials and non-state actors which includes religious leaders, cultural leaders, media and politicians. Many of our members fled their home countries after being attacked by state authorities and/or vigilante groups. We also have members who are survivors of trafficking and experienced prolonged abuse and rape.
Central to our work is addressing the complex range of problems commonly experienced asylum seekers and refugees in a foreign country where they barely know anyone. Some members are in fear of being deported, and others suffer from chronic anxiety, isolation, an inability to connect with others, feelings of worthlessness and a sense of dislocation from the world.
These problems are further compounded by the fact that the majority of our members have fallen outside, or been excluded from, the established system of medical, legal and social welfare support. Those with irregular immigration status, for example, maybe too frightened to engage with mainstream service providers for fear of being reported to authorities and deported.
The enduring legacy of extreme violence, coupled with a life in exile outside of any familial, social, cultural or institutional system of support is often too much for one person to bear. It is with that premise that we regularly organise social events to give a sense of belonging to members who are lonely and isolated.