Example10 Example11 MCH LSE Refuge City ATH Refugee Info 003
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People Example10

Get to know the newcomers, activists and volunteers we met in Athens, Berlin and London, as they share their personal experiences of refuge, welcome and the digital city.


Sheena

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Sheena, Migrants Resource Centre [now Consonant]
Haringey, London, August 2018

We are a migrant-led organisation. A lot of our staff and volunteers are migrants ourselves and we really value that personal experience of integration. We’ve experienced it ourselves, and we use that a lot in our work as a way to relate and be able to offer support.

And integration is quite central — we don't view it as a one-way process, the whole of society is also changing as a process of integration. It’s not just people assimilating into the British model, but it’s a group of people coming in and making Britain or the UK, London or Haringey, a better place to live in because of the skills that they bring and their interests. This is real integration.

(solidarity)

MCH Refuge City LDN Family2 360

Digital impacts how migrants feel welcome in the borough. In the last few years, the nature of life online is changing. It's intense and, unfortunately, increasingly polarised. It’s much easier nowadays to be exposed to your own views than to the views of others, creating an environment where people are stuck within their own echo chamber. It’s important to realise as well that as migrants, we have a space in that digital environment, to not only receive and be fed information, but to be creators of it. Some of our projects emphasise the concept of digital citizenship and how it affects migrant families. It’s not just about how to use Wi-Fi or the iPad, we’re asking them to take that extra step. How can you become a creator of information? How can you share your views widely? How can you participate in digital civic life?

We’re piloting this digital citizenship initiative for young people in Hackney because there's this assumption that the younger generation is digitally native, but we’re recognising we need to support them to become good digital citizens. This is a long-term view, I suppose, but this is the way that we should be seeking to break the cycle of polarisation, of hate crimes. The more agency we have, as migrants and as British people, the more we can create a world that reflects who we are and who we want to be in this space.

(communication rights, London)

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