“For some in isolation these calls have been the only human voice they have heard in a week”
The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants offers support to people who have been displaced from their home country due to persecution, war and poverty.
In March they had to make the very difficult decision to close the Centre that had become a home for so many of their clients. Thanks to the money from the Islington Giving Crisis Fund, staff has continued providing support to people remotely.
Some of the money has allowed the Centre to continue sending support packages to those Islington residents most in need. These packages included food vouchers, mobile phone top-ups and transport allowances. Mobile phone top-ups have meant people can keep in touch with their families, with the staff, and with their online language lessons.
Before the pandemic, the staff were working on many issues that migrants and refugees face, related to housing, asylum and immigration, healthcare and poverty. As Anna Giokas, Head of Fundraising at ICRM explains, “these problems have not gone away. In many cases they have become worse. For example, before lockdown one of our clients, finding herself homeless, was put up in accommodation in South London – very far from anyone she knew. Lockdown settled in and she felt increasing isolation, all her support groups stopped and she was alone. Her only access to the outside world was through the internet. We kept in touch with her, calling her regularly and letting her know we were there for her. For some in isolation these calls have been the only human voice they have heard in a week. To date we have made 900 calls.”
Online English lessons
Thanks to the Crisis Fund, the Centre has also been delivering online English classes online , by phone or post for those without devices of internet access. “You can’t have a voice if you don’t know the language. A common language fosters friendships and understanding between people of different cultures and it unites communities”, says Anna.
Your support is still needed
Lockdown may be easing, but the crisis isn’t yet over. Groups like The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants need more support to help those who are still in a very vulnerable situation. Donate now. You can also Walk The Line and fundraise for us. Find out more.