...we answer God's call - to discover and make known - the love of the Heart of Jesus...

Mary Barrow RSCJThe profile of this community appears elsewhere on the site, Mary, Joan and
Carol are all very committed to their work among those in need in the area where they live, and this community is an example of support given by the Province's Ministry Support Fund. (See Forest Gate Community)

The Refugee and Migrant Project
The Refugee and Migrant Project (RAMP) is a voluntary organisation offering good services to asylum seekers and refugees in the London Borough of Newham. This borough contains one of the highest proportions ol asylum seekers and refugees in this country.

RAMP has now only an Advocacy and Support Team. The Mentoring Service and the Art Therapy have both folded up due to lack of funding. The Advocacy and Support offer advice on housing, welfare benefits and immigration and race issues to many asylum seekers and refugees. We spend much time listening and counselling people who have had traumatic experiences in their own country and are now facing a bleak and unwelcoming atmosphere here in this country.

The many Immigration Laws that have been introduced in this country over the past few years have left many asylum seekers and others without papers, destitute. They are not allowed to work, receive no benefits and are homeless. Many sleep on the floor of a friend. Overcrowding is the norm in some of these families,

We are at present, in RAMP supporting between 50 -60 families and individuals who have no other financial support with basic food parcels each week The food is provided from donations from local churches, schools and other groups. However this is insufficient for our needs and we are in desperate need of help. We find it difficult to appeal wider in this country for assistance in this matter as the media seem to have a campaign against asylum seekers and the Government appears to respond by making more stringent laws. Several times this year we have had little food or money but somehow miracles happen and people give to us so we have always been able to provide for our friends.

I have been volunteering in RAMP for since 1996. I work there three days a week. I have received so much from this group of people and have seen the laws of this country get more stringent towards migrants over the years. We are really grateful that the Province has supported this project for many years.

Mary Barrow RSCJ

Carol Condon RSCJI teach English Language to adults here for many reasons. After living in Newham for some years I know there are many impediments to learning a language; whether they are familial, cultural, medical, psychological, bureaucratic because of the funding systems, and personal.

Now I have the opportunity to break down some of theses barriers, I teach in three local community centres/organisations and, because of their ethos it is possible to tailor lessons more too specific learners’ needs.

In some cases there are learners who are also known to RAMP so there is overlap. In one of the centres I am part of a small but very exciting department where lessons are given to many who come as migrants for a variety of reasons and it has a timetable for people at three levels of proficiency.

Another centre allows me to use a room for those who cannot access formal classes for different reasons. We can address pertinent issues like home-sickness as some have come following a recent marriage. All levels are welcome once a week, with an additional session for those who wish to have a writing workshop.

My third place is with a group who work with women in domestic violence relationships and have been kept back from learning due to emotional problems. This is challenging as it is on an ad hoc basis and, hopefully, will be a stop-gap until such a time comes when their situation will stabilise and learning ‘proper’ can resume. There is a fast turn over which could be frustrating but this has taught me so much about letting go and sitting easy with learning, also to trust that language is like growth and development, there are spurts, there are plateaus and the gaps get filled-in by other experiences.

I consider it such an honour and blessing to be here at this time, in this place and with these people.

Carol Condon RSCJ