We are a group of people from different communities in Oxford who want to see that the basic needs of displaced people in the city are met. Many of the original members are Kurds and Syrians who have settled here or have been displaced and we recently held a series of meetings which more than 150 people (not including children) attended.
We are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) which is non-profit making; not affiliated to any political party either in Syria or in the UK; non-religious; and dedicated to providing help to displaced people and their families, whatever their beliefs or background.
We would like to create a welcoming space in which ideas, cultures and languages can be shared for the benefit of people of all communities in the Oxford area.
Our aim is to provide a community space where all the displaced in the Oxford area can meet, share information and access whatever support they need. The space will provide a drop-in service with internet access and translation support. The space will be a family space where children will be safe to play, and where childcare can be arranged for parents who had work or education commitments; a space with a kitchen and large enough to hold events and activities, where all the diverse Oxford community would be welcome to engage. We are still looking for such a space, but in the meantime, our group is meeting and holding gatherings at the Quakers Friends’ building, or in a small room at the East Oxford Community Centre. We have to find money to fund rental costs, so we have been unable to meet as often as we would like.
Apart from providing a community space we are also active in providing other kinds of support, particularly education.
We were involved in setting up ESOL language classes with Oxford University language centre. The first such course has just finished and we are looking to run more soon.
We have also helped families and individuals liaise with medical practices and other local and national government in matters of health, housing, and visa applications.
Examples of the educational and other help we would like to provide include:
free language and literacy support.
volunteers who speak English and other languages, especially Arabic and Kurdish, to help with translation - and to facilitate integration.
professional and skill development.
scholarships for students and academics at home and abroad.
legal advice, to address problems of integration, rehabilitation, and family reunification.
information on organisations and other sources of assistance, including financial support.
orientation sessions about life in Britain.