Earlier this month the IRC UK celebrated its first graduates of the IRC’s new UK programme RISE (Refugee Integration in Southeast England).
After months of video calls and online sessions, the graduations held in Horsham and Chichester were the first time our refugee clients and staff were able to get together in person. The event was a celebration for the IRC RISE clients who’ve completed the IRC’s cultural orientation (CO) course. The sessions, which were held over 10 weeks, support resettled refugees as they navigate their new life in the UK. The clients learned everything from how to contact their GP and what to do in emergencies, to basic human rights in the UK.
Khalil is 38. He’s lived in Horsham for three years after moving to the UK from Syria with his family. He joined the RISE programme to help him better understand and navigate life in the UK.
“I benefited quite a lot from the programme. I had some anxieties before because I was wrongly diagnosed by medical doctors. So I wanted to understand ways to overcome this fear and panicking I’d have every time I go to a GP. The RISE programme hosted guests from the health sector both for mental health and the medical department. They helped me overcome my fear and my anxiety.”
“I want my kids to get the education they need. So they won't just get the best jobs but also become effective members of the society that welcomed us. It's our responsibility to be effective and to contribute to society.”
“There was not a comprehensive, well-designed programme like this for refugees in the UK.” Says Emery, RISE Project Manager. “This is the first time we have a 10 weeks integration programme that focuses on cultural orientation for newly arrived refugees. As well as for refugees who have been here for a while because they didn't have that information.”
“Imagine you land in a country where you don't know what you need to do or what to do to get it. This [programme] is a very comprehensive, holistic approach to integration. We go through all aspects of life in the UK. But we don't only teach how life in the UK is, we actually make sure our clients are self-sufficient. So that they are able to access their GP services and understand the education system for their children. Once they've been to this training, clients will have the right information that can be shared with their peers, other refugees that the IRC might not know or support.”
27-year-old Abdul Rahaman told us about how helpful the programme has been for him and his father Walid “The health section; rights for everyone; employment; and how can we get to the job market; everything was really useful and essential for everyone in the UK.”
“I’ve lived in Chichester for almost five years now.” He told us, “We settled here safely and peacefully in this great environment with great people around us. I hope to start my job now. I graduated as a Doctor and I'm doing some exams to get registered here. So hopefully, after this push from the RISE programme, it's going to be a good achievement after all.”
IRC RISE client Khaled is a Carpenter by trade and artist in his spare time. He's lived with his wife and two sons in Felpham, Sussex for just over two years. They lived in a camp in Lebanon after they were forced to flee Syria.
RISE Integration Officer Raneem Alzahr said, “I think this programme is very relevant for the needs of refugees in their resettlement journey, from arriving in the country to finding employment.”
The graduations were an opportunity for the RISE clients and staff to come together with their friends and family to celebrate their achievements completing the course. "It was also an opportunity for the IRC UK to promote other activities.” Said Emery. “They came with friends and family, people who are not part of the programme yet or know what the programme is all about.”
This project is part-funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, Making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union and Khalsa Aid International.
The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) in the UK is administered by the UK Responsible Authority (UKRA). The funding was allocated under the EU’s 2014 to 2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF), implementation of which will conclude at the end of 2022.
Khalsa Aid International is a UK-based humanitarian relief organisation, providing support worldwide to victims of natural and man-made disasters. Founded in 1999 on the Sikh principle of recognising the whole human race as one, Khalsa Aid has provided crucial humanitarian aid to millions of people around the world through its Emergency Relief Projects and Global Development Programmes.