Advocacy Outreach Project in Bellville

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The Advocacy Programme has started a new outreach project in partnership with the Somali Association of South Africa (SASA) at the Bellville Education Centre (BEC) in Bellville, which provides English lessons to Somalis in the Cape Town area. The Scalabrini Centre has a strong relationship with SASA. Previously, the Advocacy Programme provided assistance to individuals who were referred by SASA from the BEC at our main Cape Town office. Due in part to high demand for services, as well as the difficulty some individuals face in travelling to Cape Town, the Advocacy Outreach Project was developed to better serve the Somali community and to reach individuals previously unable to seek assistance in relation to permit issues and service access. The project began in September and involves a weekly visit to Bellville.Two months into the project, the Advocacy Programme has provided assistance to 50 individuals. Common issues of concern involve expired permits that were issued at other Refugee Reception Offices, assistance with appeal requests, and assistance with family joining applications. Funding by the US State Department Bureau of Population and Refugee Movements (PRM) has made the new Advocacy Outreach Programme possible.

Zimbabwean Documentation Background and Updates

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The Zimbabwean Documentation Project (ZDP) began in 2009. The project was a special dispensation for Zimbabwean nationals present in South Africa who were either using asylum seeker permits due to lack of regular work permit options or who were undocumented and thus considered illegal foreigners. The ZDP project allowed individuals to apply for four year work permits with relaxed requirements. The application period was also accompanied by a moratorium on the deportation of Zimbabweans to entice undocumented individuals to come forward and apply for permits.The ZDP project was largely successful and roughly 275,000 individuals were able to apply for permits, allowing them to work, conduct business, and study in South Africa legally. In 2009, during the initial application and collection process, the Advocacy Programme assisted individuals by conducting information sessions and helping clients with individual cases.As the four year window for ZDP permits comes to a close, the Department of Home Affairs announced that individuals who applied for ZDP permits will be allowed to apply for extensions under a new project entitled the ‘Zimbabwean Special Project’, or ZSP. During this transition from ZDP to ZSP permits, our Employment Access Programme has done stellar work helping individual Zimbabweans coming to the centre from around the Western Cape.  In October, the EAP team assisted more than 300 clients with the online application system, many of whom were first-time visitors to the Scalabrini Centre. Although the online system was fraught with errors in the first few days it was available, throughout the month it has steadily improved and nearly three-quarters of the clients assisted have successfully submitted their applications. The EAP team is continuing to follow-up with both the clients and with VFS on the various issues that are arising, and will work closely with the Advocacy team to address these problems with VFS and the Department of Home Affairs.

NEW INTERN PROFILE – HELEN FAIRS

IMG_2988Hi All, I’m Helen and I’m from the UK; I grew up in Newcastle and studied Art History at Manchester University. After 10 years working in museums and galleries I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted to do something different; as well as arts and culture I’ve always been interested in human rights hence why I started working for a charity called Refugee Action a couple of years ago. I worked at Refugee Action until September 2014 on the Gateway Protection Programme which is the UK’s UNHCR funded resettlement programme; helping a small number of the world’s most vulnerable refugees (mainly from DRC, Somalia, Sudan & Bhutan) adjust to and settle into life in the UK. I am in Cape Town for 3 months with my partner Jon whilst he works for Durham University on a research project. As an All-Rounder at Scalabrini I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone and being as helpful and useful as possible during the short time I have here.

NEW INTERN PROFILE – Lara Hamel

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Hello everyone! My name is Lara, 22 years old and I am from Bensheim, Germany. Currently I am in my fifth year of studying Business Administration at the University of Bayreuth. I want to specialise in Human Resources Management and I am sure that the insight to Human Rights, I will gain at Scalabrini Centre will be a valuable experience for me. The reason I am doing my internship at Scalabrini Centre is that I want to contribute to those who need help the most, to learn more about Human Rights and to gain experience by working at an NGO. I am looking forward to my upcoming six months here in Cape Town and meeting all the different people, who make this NGO so unique.

NEW INTERN PROFILE – JONAS SPARRE NYHJEM

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Jonas Sparre Nyhjem was born in a Copenhagen suburb of Værløse, in the year 1986. His family lineage can be traced back to the royal Glücksburg house, but his stands are firmly populist, as evident from his participation in the Danish Occupy movement. Jonas studied history and film at the University of Copenhagen, which amounts to little more than a glorified library pass and a convenient conversation starter, respectively. His BA thesis dealt with piracy and state sovereignty in ancient Greece. Currently, he is doing his master’s program in Global Refugee Studies at the University of Aalborg, and he is interested in systemic injustices in what is termed: “the global rescue industry”. At Scalabrini, Jonas works as an intern at the Employment Access Program, where he helps people gain meaningful employment in the dog-eat-dog South African labor marked. His spare time interests involve film and theater reviewing, and he writes for a user based media website.

NEW INTERN PROFILE – MAXIME VERBEIJ

MaximeHello everyone! My name is Maxime and I have just started as an all-rounder intern at the Scalabrini Centre.

I was born and raised in the Netherlands, where I finished a Master’s in Sociology –specialization in Migration and Ethnic studies. The approach to migration in this studies was rather Eurocentric. This is my first time in South Africa, and I am very excited to learn more about migrants and refugees in a completely different geographical context. Moreover, after four years of learning about migration in an academic environment, I really wanted to experience the reality of migration in an NGO setting, which is how I ended up here at Scalabrini.

As an all-rounder, I am hoping to get an insight in all different programmes of the Scalabrini Centre and to make myself useful in every way possible.

EAP adds a Career Counsellor to the Team

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We would like to welcome our newest staff member, Stephanie Mackay who is a registered psychometrist and will be acting as the Scalabrini Centre’s Career Counsellor. Stephanie will be working closely under the Employment Access Programme, offering one on one career guidance consultations to clients. Stephanie will evaluate clients’ education and work backgrounds in order to help them determine what they need to do next in terms of achieving their employment goals. Stephanie will be able to assess clients by using the appropriate psychometric assessments. Stephanie’s role will also consist of developing action plans per client, aiding clients in the job search process, assisting in evaluating clients for possible skills training sponsorship, as well as facilitate the Life Skills modules of the Digital Literacy Workshop. The addition of a Career Counsellor will round out the services provided by the EAP team and allow further insight into the needs of our clients.