In May 2016, Fidelis Chebe and Dr Jon Burnett (Institute of Race Relations) delivered a joint lecture to MA students at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds. Themed ‘Forced migration and displacement as a consequence of conflict and emergencies’ the lecture discussed conflicts (complex political emergencies) as the largest driver of forced migration.
In the discussions with students, Fidelis and Dr Burnett examined the politics, policy responses and humanitarian crisis associated with forced migration. Both applied their knowledge and direct experiences of working and supporting destitute asylum seekers, refugees and other groups of vulnerable migrants in the UK.
Following the lecture, some of the students were keen to visit some of the organizations working and responding to the needs of forced migrants in Leeds. Migrant Action facilitated a visit for the students to Meeting Point – a Leeds based charity working and providing direct humanitarian assistance to Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Meeting Point provides a welcome, friendly, safe and supportive environment for asylum seekers and refugees and assist in meeting their practical needs including food, healthcare , employment, advice, accommodation as well as social integration.
Emma Crossley (Project Manager) welcomed and briefed the students about the service and its services. The students interacted and had conversations with some volunteers, staff and beneficiaries. After the visit, the students stated that it was a moving and positive experience. One of them said ‘ it was wonderful to see the humanity within the project staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and supporters were all working as one family’. Another student said ‘I come from a country that has experienced war and I can relate to some of the issues and experiences that I have heard today. I am glad I came to see for myself the compassion that is shown to refugees by organizations like this ’.
Migrant Action aims to work collaboratively with other services, agencies, universities, communities etc to develop better understanding, reduce vulnerability among migrants and promote integration.