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Who We Are

Care Link is an organisation that was formed in on 16th October 2004. Our primary function is to support the refugee community from Central Africa living in West Midlands (Rwanda, Burundi, D R Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Central African Republic) and offer a number of services to the community.

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Some of the activities carried out per category of theme during the year 2002

 1. GENERAL SUPPORT/REFUGEE INTEGRATION

Refugee education and awareness was in 2006, the most effective way of promoting refugee integration and eliminate isolation. The education programme sought to raise awareness in West Midlands about the status of refugees with the aim of increasing the flow of information between refugee's groups and relevant authorities, religious leaders, and other relevant representatives.

Carelink TrusteesDuring this period under review, one big event related to refugee integration was held in Smethwick, Sandwell.

On 25th November 2006 Care Link has networked with other local refugee organisations to celebrate refugee integration. The network held a series of successful workshops covering many important issues: gender equality, education, AIDS awareness to name few. This event was the first of its kind for the refugees from Central Africa and all participants were pleased with the response it generated.

2. SATURDAY HOMEWORK CLUB

Activities concerning the promotion of refugee children's education have taken place mainly on Saturdays during the school year.

Saturday Homework Club for Refugee Children in Smethwick

Background InformationProgram sizeAge rangeEvaluationProgram Fee

Venue for Homework:

Holy Trinity Church,

Parish of the Resurrection Church Hill Street,

Smethwick B67 7AH

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Days: Saturdays

 

Duration of the project:

March 2006 to March 2007.

 

Goals of the project:

To inspire and enable refugee children from central Africa origin, especially those disadvantaged by not having English as a first language, to realize their full potential as productive and ready to learn as any other child in the normal school.

 

Resources used:

1.Human: 3 volunteers & parents

2.Material: books, CD, DVD, Movies show & IT equipment, OHP, etc

42 children attended the programme during the period of the grant Preschool to age 21

Objective: The evaluation sought to examine the effects of a non-school educational enhancement programme on school performance among refugee children whose English is not the first language and who study in public schools.

The evaluation was passed onto all homework attendants as well as the parents of the 42 refugee children who attended the homework club activities during the period of the project. Forty percent of participants were female and the average participant age was 12.3 years. Approximately 99% of learners were black Africans, 1% mixed race.

 

Methodology: Follow-up data were collected 1, 3, and 5 months after the project started.

 

Outcomes Examined: This study evaluated the effects of homework club program on refugee children's academic performance in schools.

 

Measurement Instruments: Trained data collectors, blind to homework aims and programme/comparison assignments, visited the homework site and obtained baseline data during the project activities. Self-report information from attendants, homework evaluation reports from volunteers (by phone, and occasionally at home), and reports from Care Link (grade data, attendance, and behavior incidents) were obtained.

 

Impact/Outcome Findings: After 12 months of project activities, greater engagement and enjoyment in reading, verbal skills, writing, and tutoring, plus greater enjoyment in geography, science, art, confidence in English were found from programme participants.

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Background Information
Out of School/ Summer Activities Mentoring Tutoring Counselling/ Therapy Educational visits Clinic/ Provider-based Service/ Vocational learning Parenting Other
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Outcomes
Educational/ Cognitive Social/ Emotional Life Skills Physical Health Behaviour Problems Reproductive Citizenship Mental Health
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The sort of activities that refugee children have been doing during the period of the project

All homework activities were related to work that children are doing at school. However, all homework assignments were not always written work. For young children it was largely:

  • Reading with parents or volunteers
  • Informal games to practice mathematical skills

For older children, homework included:

  • Reading
  • Preparing a presentation to the class
  • Finding out information
  • Making something
  • Trying out a simple scientific experiment
  • Understanding the English culture

At the end of the grant period children who continue to attend the club have asked Care Link Management Committee to expand the existing programme by covering more subject content, that is to say allow time for researching information on internet and encourage independent study skills and reflection.

In response to this new need, Care Link has come up with the idea of providing facilities for internet access which could enable children to use on Saturdays when local libraries are closed or any day during the week when libraries are highly in use. We now have a space for 6 computers to be broad banded in our office environment and we are exploring ways to raise fund to acquire 6 computers.

We hope this scheme will continue for more years and we are optimistic that such a setting will offer sessions for parents to understand the ways in which their children learn, and in particular, extend the understanding of learning through play activities. Such scheme to our understanding will help develop positive attitudes to learning and social skills.

Supporting the mental health of refugee victims of torture

We began with this activity in April 2006. What came first was to organise a special up- to- date training on mental health advocacy to have a new dimension to the steep learning curve we already found ourselves on. Venues were Smethwick in our office and Shrewsbury. We learnt a lot but felt and still feel we have a long way to go in being a more effective force in spreading the knowledge of supporting refugee victims of torture to be able to manage their stress and emotional disturbance. Soon after the training which took place October, 2006, we began with " Meet Refugees in Distress Groups". Key people in local organisations were invited to a meal and afterward to listen to stories from victims. Just to listen to the stories of victims of torture was very stressful. Many of them have been raped, others wrongfully jailed for many months. Many are those who find themselves widowed or else their husbands are in jail. They are left with a family to feed and have to travel to the jail every day to bring food to the prisoner.

Some of the women have had to resort to prostitution and now they find themselves HIV-positive. For them emotions are hard to find - eyes have long since run out of tears. Months or years after they run away from persecution in their own countries, there is still a lot of unfinished business like coping with exile related stressors especially when one can not speak the language of the country where he/she was offered refuge. How can the body relax, how can life get back to normal? To try to find out some responses to this question, we initiated some counselling services. We have decided that the healing process touches love through a befriending structure and through Reflexology. This could help them at this time. Words would only sound hollow. Their bodies as well as their minds and spirits are so traumatised. Through Reflexology they could experience a new kind of touch - having their feet massaged as their bodies healed.

As they learned the skills of Reflexology themselves, they in turn went out to do it to others in their communities. On 11 March 2007, a workshop was held to relate to skills learnt from the training session of October 2006.

So far we have trained 2 groups. There are seven victims of mental health in each. It is wonderful to watch the joy on their faces as they relate how Reflexology has helped in their villages.

In May 2007, Mr. Shomari, Secretary of Care Link took contact with a psychiatric Doctor, Miss Emma Williams of an organisation called "The Medical Foundation for Care of Victims of Torture, also known as the Medical Foundation" This is a medical charity in the United Kingdom committed to documenting cases of torture and helping the full psychological and physical recovery of survivors of torture". After negotiation, Miss Emma accepted to directly refer patient to her in the future. We have managed to refer 2 patients so far.

Membership

Membership is open to individuals over eighteen or organisations who are approved by the Trustees.

The Trustees may only refuse an application for membership if, acting reasonably and properly, they consider it to be in the best interests of the Charity to refuse the application. There is a membership application available. A copy of this application may be requested by phoning our office on 0121 565 2612.

The Trustees will inform the applicant in writing of the reasons for the refusal within twenty-one days of the decision.

Once membership is approved, the details of the new member will be kept in our register of names and addresses of the members which is made available to any member upon request.

Charity information

Central Africa Refugee Link is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 6218206 Charity Reg. No. 1109505.

Registered Office: Central Africa Refugee Link, 91 Hurst Road, Smethwick, Sandwell, West Midlands, B67 6LY, UK.

Tel/Fax: 0121 565 2612

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Care Link West Midlands was established  16th October 2004

We are not a grant making organization.