Family Reunification - Securing Integration for Refugees
Today marks the end of the 'Family Reunification - Securing Integration for Refugees' (Integration) project. We are very grateful to the St. Stephen's Green Trust for their support and funding. We would also like to thank our Integration Officer, Cecilia Amabo, for her work in making the project so successful.
The Integration Project focused on providing post-arrival supports to families who had entered the State on the basis of family reunification with a refugee. Nasc's experience showed us that families often experienced difficulties post-arrival, including feelings of isolation, as they struggled to access basic services. These challenges for newly arrived families have all been exacerbated by the housing shortage in Ireland. We were delighted that St Stephen's Green Trust decided to fund this innovate project.
As the Integration Officer, Cecilia's work with the family began even more their arrival in the State.
As soon as I received a referral I began an assessment of what the family's needs might be. We began looking at accommodation needs, schools for children and any urgent medical needs the family might have on arrival.
Post arrival, Cecilia's work included accompanying families to apply for PPS numbers, ensuring smooth enrollment in schools for children, ensuring that all the family members over 16 were registered with the GNIB and received their Irish Residence Permits.
Accompaniment to appointments and to services was a really important part of the work. It gave people confidence and I hope I was able to show them how they could advocate for themselves in the future. For someone newly arrived in Ireland possibly with poor language skills, even something like opening a bank account can seem like a really daunting task.
The Integration Project fit well within Nasc's services. Cecilia was able to refer newly-arrived women into Nasc's Gateway to Employment project and any complicated issues arising were referred back to the Free Legal Service.
The impact on the families assisted through the project has been enormous. Reflecting on the outcomes of the project, Integration officer Cecilia noted
It's incredible to see the changes in families over such a short period of time. It's so rewarding to see children in schools, making friends, becoming active in their communities. It really is integration in action.