Our Director Fidelis Chebe spoke at the Migrant Voice report launch. Take a look at some of the findings below and read the full report here: https://www.migrantvoice.org/resources/reports/destroying-hopes-dreams-and-lives–230422122311
Covid-19 and the murder of George Floyd by a serving policeman in the United States, further exposed the consequences of systemic/structural injustice rooted in socio-cultural, political and economic hierarchies and the disproportionate impact of these ‘hierarchies’ on structurally disadvantaged groups/constituencies. There is overwhelming consensus underpinned by research, that BAME communities including migrants faired worse in the pandemic not due to their collective recklessness or some natural deficiencies, rather, their precarious outcomes found root in routine structural vulnerability and structural ‘neglect’ that precede the pandemic.
As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the pursuit in solidarity of lasting equal recovery necessitates our collective authenticity in examining the Faultline of structural inequalities and socio-cultural and economic ‘hierarchies’ and the precarious consequences on structurally disadvantaged and minoritized communities. Such honest pursuit would help engineer equal resilience for future pandemics and wider systemic transformational change.
Using the context of Covid-19, this blog captures a collaborative project by Migrant Action and University of Leeds to highlight the impact of structural vulnerability on international students. It articulates systemic and transformational change towards ensuring equal recovery from the pandemic and equity of resilience to ongoing and future ‘emergencies.
Read full blog below written by Evie Mendoza (Project team)
Our project surrounds the question of the impact of Covid-19 on international students. International students, from undergraduate to PhD level, were significantly affected by lockdown restrictions in society, and specifically at the University. Many of these students may have moved to the UK just as the country was locking down, and they may have found themselves living in an unfamiliar area, with few support networks. Due to the nature of online teaching, many international students (like home students) will not have met their lecturers or peers and may have faced increased struggles to access materials and academic support. They may also have been uncertain about how to access wellbeing and mental health support, being far away from home and loved ones.
This project sets out to examine, understand and raise awareness of the issues that these students have faced and continue to face due to the pandemic both in the University and beyond. Our primary aims are to raise awareness of these challenges, set up a platform to amplify their voices, strengthen dialogue between home and international students, and drive structural change at the University as we uncover areas in need of improvement. Within this project, we will be using an online survey and online focus group.
The survey will have 10 questions, investigating the overall impact of covid 19. The survey will ask more specific questions than the focus group so that we can find out the impact of covid on mental health, social relationships and academic life. We will also ask about whether they have accessed support systems, like societies, to uncover whether the university support has been effective and easily accessible. The focus groups will allow for a more personal insight into their experiences. We hope to hold one online focus group with five international student ambassadors at the university. We picked 5 student ambassadors for this method because their role involves being the voice of many students, so it will hopefully allow our research to be more representative and to help to prevent one of the biggest challenges of focus groups – that some participants might be reluctant to speak. These will be held on zoom and the emphasis will be on maintaining neutrality through open-ended + primarily exploratory research questions.
While considering our outputs, it was important to us to make sure the findings of this research project are presented in a way that is impactful and long-lasting. We realise social and structural change is not an overnight task. However, we believe our research can lay the foundations for such change to take place overtime. We hope to showcase our findings through various visual and written methods: using art and poetry submissions from international students; the setting up of a social media account and an electronic art magazine.
We have already set up an Instagram account @vois.Leeds in order to share our findings and connect people online to our other outputs and useful resources. In an era where technology dominates daily life, we agreed that social media would be a good way for our audiences to engage with our research.
We also aim to create a ‘zine’, a small magazine, which will feature these works of art and poetry created by international students. Historically zines have been used by marginalised voices to share stories and document experience
Dear friends of Migrant Action,
In a few hours, we will be saying ‘good-bye’ to 2021 and ‘welcome’ to 2022. Thank you for your solidarity and support helping to strengthen Migrant Action’s advocacy and pursuit for migrants’ rights & justice in an increasingly challenging and complex environment. The essence of our work is even more relevant now!
BREXIT, the ‘New immigration bill which reinforces the ‘hostile environment’ policy targeting migrants, the Climate crisis, Covid-19, Systemic racism, negative press narratives fuelling anti-migrant sentiments by sections of the media, protracted conflicts, political violence, human rights violations, economic exploitation, and political marginalisation of the global south.
These developments constitute a disturbing environment for migrant’s rights & justice. Firstly, it engineers and sustains vulnerability and the precarious conditions that trigger more mobility of migrants across and within countries. Secondly, it entrenches and exacerbates an infrastructure that undermine migrants’ capacity to access justice, deepen inequality, racial & social injustice and routinely negate migrant rights and dignity. In essence, such an environment poses an existential threat to the dignity and humanity of migrants.
Migrant Action is adapting and responding to this changing and complex context. We have expanded provision and adapted service delivery model to proactively support vulnerable migrants during the pandemic and beyond. We enhanced our delivery of crisis interventions to prevent homelessness & destitution, increased access to immigration advice for people with insecure immigration, increased integration support for new migrants, assisted more EU migrants to regularise their immigration status in the UK after Brexit. Our advocacy work continues to promote equity of rights and justice for migrants. Essentially, Migrant Action continues to a lifeline and safety net for vulnerable migrants in this challenging environment.
Migrant Action has also strengthened its capacity and resilience in pursuit of transformational social change. The current context demands more urgency to challenge anti-migrant sentiments and policies, tackle structural inequalities, climate change, systemic racism, and social injustice. To this vein, our strategic advocacy through ‘Strengthening Hands’ partnerships to grow migrant ‘voice’, as well as our collaborative research, capacity building and campaign-based activities have been impactful.
Looking to the future
Migrant Action anticipates operating in an even more challenging context as it grapples with the issues undermining rights and justice. However, we have emerged from 2020/21 with more capacity and resilience to respond to present and future challenges working as a team with staff, volunteers, trustees, partners, funders and of course, those we serve- migrants. Therefore, we look forward to 2022 with greater hope and fierceness commitment to rights and justice for migrants, a fair and humane immigration system and for a more equal, just, and peaceful society in which everyone including migrants can realize their full potential.
Dear friends, your solidarity remains invaluable and integral to our success, even more so, now!
Thank you and Happy New Year!
As we emerge from the pandemic, we are faced with pre-existing, entrenched and new
challenges amidst uncertainty. For the people in communities disproportionately
impacted by the pandemic including migrants, the effects remain raw and acutely
In order to effectively engage and respond to the needs of the most vulnerable, but more
importantly transform the structures that exacerbate vulnerability and undermine
resilience, Migrant Action and its local partners including Feels Like Home, ELSH &
Polska Biblioteka are developing a new collaborative model- The Migration
The Partnership sees its primary role being to ensure sustainable collaboration,
effective communication and community engagement, building resilience and
enhancing strategic advocacy for migrants in Barnsley. Achieving these aims will
lead to attaining our goal of helping communities not only ‘bounce-back’ from the
pandemic but thrive beyond the pandemic. It will also enable meaningful integration
and stronger communities in Barnsley.
If you would like to know more about the Migration Partnership Barnsley, please
contact Fidelis Chebe, Director of Migrant Action by email;
email@example.com or Joanna Sutcliffe firstname.lastname@example.org
By the end of 2020, 82.4 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of
persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. This is an increase of 2.9 million people
over the previous year. The world’s population of forcibly displaced people remained at a record
In 2020, there were 26.4 million refugees in the world—the highest ever seen and 35.5 million
children were living outside of their country of birth- Not their choice! Over the last few months,
people across Britain were poignantly reminded about the plight of these children by Little Amal, a
towering puppet of a child refugee fleeing her war ravaged country to seek sanctuary. She began
her 5,000-mile journey to Manchester from the Turkish-Syrian border back in July. Her name means
‘hope’ in Arabic – and she’s travelled across Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and
On the 30th October, Migrant Action in solidarity with other organisations joined hundreds of people
including children in welcoming ‘little Amal’ to Barnsley. In an increasingly hostile migration policy
environment, the people including children who saw themselves in little Amal’s story, stretched out
their arms to welcome her echoing a towering and powerful message of welcome, compassion,
solidarity, humanity, social justice and hope.
Migrant Action’s work articulates a positive and hopeful migration discourse and advocates for the
UK being a more welcoming rather than a ‘hostile environment’ for refugees and other migrants.