Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ostara and the White Hare


The wonderful storytelling sessions continue at Unity in Diversity, facilitated by Carl Gough. Our folk love new vocabulary and the same goes for stories, which are strong traditions in many people’s country of origin (as well as our own). Lessons are provided on the subject matter in order for everyone to participate effectively and enjoyably.

Please see Carl in action telling the amazing “Ostara and the White Hare” story.

IMPORTANT UPDATE!! UiD Football Club Vs Swansea Uni staff team

So we are now preparing for our first football match with a Swansea university staff team and we’re all very excited!

The match is 5pm on an ASTRO-TURF pitch on Monday 30th next to Wales National Pool (SA2 8QG).



astro turf - no football boots



NEWS!! Protection Gap campaign demands and Home Office action points

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • in front of her children

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office will consider options for provision of childcare in areas in which it is currently not available (London, Glasgowand Liverpool).

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • to a male interviewer or interpreter if she is not comfortable with this

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, from now on a female interviewer is guaranteed if requested in advance of the interview ie at screening. Until now this has been in Home Office guidance but has not been guaranteed in practice.

The Home Office will develop a script for screeners to ensure women understand the significance of having a choice of interviewer.

The Home Office will consult the Interpreters Unit about recruiting more female interpreters. They will also consider using video conferencing although Charter supporters do not think this is appropriate for sensitive interviews.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • to someone who doesn’t understand how trauma affects memory

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office has included information about trauma and memory as well as a case study about rape in its training on the assessment of credibility for its caseworkers to be rolled out from April 2015.  Any relevant training material from the College of Policing will also be included.  In addition they will take forward training on sexual violence and trauma for interpreters.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • without being given counselling

For the past two years Charter supporters UNHCR, Refugee Council and Scottish Refugee Council have been working with the Home Office to develop access to counselling for women who have experienced sexual violence.

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, from May 2015 women who disclose sexual violence at screening in Croydon will be signposted to organisations that provide counselling.  If this is successful, there will be a national rollout from Sept 2015.

If funding permits, women who disclose sexual violence at their initial interview will be referred Dear colleague,

Now that we have completed the postcard phase of the Protection Gap campaign, I am writing to update you on our impact.  We were thrilled that so many of you promoted the campaign with such enthusiasm.  This has meant that the campaign’s reach has been much further than we anticipated.

Through the campaign 1223 postcards were sent to MPs with a message to Theresa May, the Home Secretary.  The postcards were presented to Baroness Helena Kennedy by representatives of the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group and the Evelyn Oldfield Unit who were involved in setting up the campaign with Asylum Aid.  During this phase (8th December 2014 to 10th March 2015) Charter supporters were involved in lobbying Home Office officials and parliamentarians and obtained online and print media coverage.

These initiatives resulted in the Home Office reviewing its Women’s Asylum Action Plan.  The Action Plan was originally set up as a result of the Charter of Rights of Women Seeking Asylum.  We were very excited to see the new Action Plan which was produced just this week.  We are sure you’ll be as pleased as we are to find that the new Home Office Women’s Asylum Action Plan included all of the Protection Gap demands. The details linking the campaign demands and the Home Office action points are below.  And do look at our full update about the campaign activities and successes.

So what happens next?

A number of Charter supporters will be monitoring the Action Plan through existing Home Office stakeholder mechanisms.  But turning promises into actual provisions that women seeking asylum can benefit from will require continued pressure.  The intention has always been to continue the campaign until these measures are in place. With the coming general election, lobbying work has to be put on hold.  However once a new Government is in place we will be in contact again asking for your continued help in the Charter campaign to close the Protection Gap.

In the meantime, it would be incredibly helpful at this stage if you could let me know about your activities in promoting the Protection Gap campaign and also your feedback on the campaign itself.  This will help us in planning the next phase.

Finally I want to congratulate everyone on being part of a campaign that has demonstrated how much progress we can make if we all work together and to thank you very much for your involvement.

Best wishes,

Debora Singer

Policy and Research Manager

Asylum Aid

020 7354 9631 x208
To a specific organisation that provides counselling.  A six month pilot will be followed by national rollout.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • without information about her rights as a woman in the asylum system

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office will review information provided to women about their rights in the asylum system including their current information and information about the signposting arrangements (above).



One of the problems we encounter when talking to the people we support is that of transport. People are ‘placed’ in Swansea by the authorities and sometimes this can mean being up to 8 miles from the city centre where college courses are held, where community groups meet and where support is offered. Having very little to live on, paying expensive bus fares is often NOT an option. Being in a new/strange place and having to walk some distance in bad weather can compound already existing problems for people and hinder their chances of integrating in society. Alongside this people are often required to ‘sign in’ regularly at a location that is over 4 miles from the centre of Swansea.

This is where the RE-Cycle project comes in.


Over the last few years re-cycle has put around 3000 bikes back on the road in Swansea, all bikes were donated by people who would rather see their bike used rather than melted down for scrap. The not-for-profit social enterprise takes in donated bikes, selling 80% at low cost and the rest go to volunteers in exchange for their time.

Many of our friends at the Unity in Diversity group have benefited from being volunteers with the wonderful Ian at Re-Cycle. The ability to get around is vital for those on low-income and the sense of self-purpose is very important for those who are effectively in limbo most of the time due to uncertainties in their status and the lengthy procedures involved.

Millions of bicycles are discarded in the UK every year. Our whole society needs to address the waste of resources around us. Alongside this, cycling is a great from of exercise, especially with some of the stunning cycle paths we have here in the area. Re-Cyle addresses many different things in the way they work and we will always be very grateful for the way our friends are empowered, mobilised and valued in their contribution.

If you want to:

  • Donate a bicycle
  • Buy a good quality and affordable bicycle
  • Volunteer your time and learn skills
  • Refer someone to the scheme.

Go to their website ->


Just off Bryn-y-Mor Road, in a courtyard behind the Mill Pub on Catherine Street, SA1 4NE.


Workers Education Association

ESOL/ICT learners with the WEA

The Unity in Diversity group has been helping people for over 5 years now. We are very happy with successes in helping people, that said this would not be possible at all without the kind help of organisations like the WEA.WEA CYMRU logo

The WEA has helped many many of our friends learn English (ESOL) as well as other subjects including ICT. Participating and receiving accreditation benefits the people we support in numerous ways, not only in speaking English etc.

Being able to communicate in the place where you live is a clear priority that leads to access to other services and communities. Other important outcomes are; having a sense of purpose, doing something constructive rather than being isolated and worrying about things, being able to populate a CV and having the ability to show the authorities that the individual is making relevant steps in their own development.

The courses provided are especially helpful as ESOL provision at local colleges is often booked up very quickly and enrolments are restricted to the academic year. The WEA offers classes all year round which helps us to get people in to active learning as soon as possible.

If you wish to study, or you know someone who would benefit from learning with the WEA you can visit their website here ->


For those who wish to study ESOL amongst other courses, visit the Swansea Bay Racial Equality council on the 3rd Floor in Grove House, Grove Place, Swansea, West Glamorgan SA1 5DF. Telephone: 01792 457035. Website:

Unity in Diversity Vs Swansea University staff – Our first match!!!

varsity_logo_2015 BREAKING NEWS!!! UiD FC has been kindly invited to play a Swansea University staff team at warm-ups for the University Varsity event. The match will be at 5pm on Monday 30th March at the football grounds next to the Wales national pool Swansea. Postcode – SA2 8EE (see map below). This is very exciting for us as it presents an opportunity to get the team properly started, to give the players the experience of playing as part of a team and to understand how we function effectively together. An excellent chance to be seen and to share the fun, healthy and inclusive nature of our team. We remind you that everyone is welcome to join us at training sessions held at Hafod park on Sundays 2pm to 4pm. If you have an interest in friendships across diverse cultures and developing your game please join us. Full info on UiD training sessions here: Unity in Diversity Football Training – Flyer-Map-Info Monday’s match to be played here:

Try some basic phrases in Tigrinya

Tigrinya – English Dictionary

Tigrinya language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tigrinya, often written as Tigrigna /tɪˈɡrnjə/[3] (ትግርኛ, tigriñā) is an Afro-Asiatic language, belonging to the family’s Semitic branch. It is spoken by ethnic Tigray-Tigrinya in the Horn of Africa. Tigrigna speakers primarily inhabit the Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia (57%), where its speakers are called Tigrawot (“Tigrāweyti”(female ) or “Tigraway”(male) -singular- and “Tegaru” -plural-), as well as the contiguous borders of southern and central Eritrea (43%), where speakers are known as the Tigrigna. Tigrigna is also spoken by groups of emigrants from these regions, including some Beta Israel.

Tigrigna should not be confused with the related Tigre language. The latter Afro-Asiatic language is spoken by the Tigre people, who inhabit the lowland regions of Eritrea to the north and west of the Tigrigna speech area

7 – 6 to the Blues!!!!


Note: All photos are shared with express permission of ALL those pictured.

A very encouraging start to our recently revived football activities with 19 people playing. With our kind volunteers Martin (the coach) and Christelle, plus Lazlo and myself we were 25 happy souls enjoying a healthy afternoon’s activities.

UiD FC used to meet at the Recreation ground on Mumbles road but due to occasional events such as the Netherlands’ National Circus we rethought the location and decided to use the wonderful public provision of Hafod Park (SA5 9LE). This is much closer to many people’s homes and isn’t as busy as the Rec.

We are interested in how successfully everybody found the park. This ties in with our development of a digital directory that puts locations and details of help available in the hands of not only practitioners supporting this group but actually in to the hands of the people themselves. One gentleman showed me his smartphone and demonstrated how the Google map app had led him straight to the park – with a route from where he was! A task for our volunteers at the UiD group will be to collect info on what devices people use, to identify and recognise how well this is done as well as giving us the opportunity to plan workshops around improving skills needed.

We are hoping that as the weekly activity (Sundays 2pm to 4pm) develops we can extend welcome to families who can make use of the many different things available at the park. As the weather improves we can expect a table, chairs, juice etc to appear.

A word from our coach:

We are very pleased to see such an enthusiastic turnout. We are hoping that the improving weather allows us to dedicate more time to improve our technical ability and hone our clearly existing skills. I am confident that the people coming can give the needed commitment for us to grow in to a functional team – look out Chelsea! We’re coming to get you.

Unity in Diversity Football Training – Flyer-Map-Info

Cautionary Tales

A great storytelling session this evening with Carl from ‘World of Connection‘. Preparation on Tuesday really paid off with lots of participation. Cautionary tales seemed to be the theme which was clearly familiar to all. A great team effort in recalling the stories step by step, clear evidence of a good understanding of the stories. Well done to the people that told their own stories.

We all know why dogs bark at buses now thanks to an amusing traditional Eritrean story.

Getting up and having a go


An absolutely wonderful lesson provided by David and Vivien this evening in preparation for Thursday’s storytelling session with Carl from ‘World of Connection’. Fantastic vocabulary focus on words and concepts that were clearly resonant in the group’s own cultures, as well as our own. Stories were planned in small groups and then delivered in front of the class, assisted by bamboo canes, a bucket of earth, some bulbs and grass seeds amongst a few other things. After a lot of active planning we had several short stories. This was so much fun and we are delighted to see the readiness of people to stand up in front of a class and deliver a story, made by themselves – in English. We thank David and Viv for setting up the activities and ultimately the learners themselves who participated so enthusiastically. We are now geared-up for Carl’s session – can’t wait!