Over the summer we were at the airport welcoming a group of Congolese refugees. It was an unusually hot July day. One of the women commented to me that the weather was not too dissimilar to Africa. I advised her to be prepared for the cold and rain that would only be a month or so away, or even the next day – you just never know in the UK. She said she did not mind, she was just so happy to have finally arrived in the UK.
On the Gateway Resettlement Programme, we support refugees who arrive to Greater Manchester on the UK government’s resettlement programme. We work with a very vulnerable group of people; having fled their home country due to war, persecution and torture, many of them then end up living in huge refugee camps, where their safety is still compromised and living conditions are poor.
Third country resettlement offers them a chance to rebuild their lives in a new country with new opportunities. Our team of Resettlement Caseworkers supports them to do this with an empowerment approach, encouraging them to learn and do things for themselves so that they can regain control of their lives, live independently and with dignity.
Yet, there are many challenges with this for resettled refugees – not just the weather.