People who are Asylum Seekers in Derby have a difficult time. They will be housed in very basic accommodation, disallowed from taking paid employment, may have little command of the English language, and very uncertain over their future. Each one will have difficult stories to tell of why they have been forced from their homelands – some will have great emotional hurdles to overcome to even discuss it with other people. On a human level these are people who are trying to maintain some level of sanity whilst they wait for a judgement on whether they will be granted “leave to remain”. Whilst they wait, and they could be waiting for years, they have to live on £35 per week.
The Derby Refugee Advice Centre based in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Centre on Curzon Street provides a crucial service to Asylum seekers and refugees. In addition to being a friendly face and a caring ear, they operate as a food bank, provide English classes, support the many problems that people have and try to make their life as manageable as possible. One of the programmes they provide is a creative writing course which can be shaped to their clients needs – one of the benefits is to give them a medium to tell their story.
I met with Joan Stannard and Hannah Stirland of Derby Refugee Advice Centre, a few weeks ago, to discuss their work and from that discussion we developed the idea of running free photography courses for their clients. The objectives were manyfold from creating a simple opportunity to engage with people in the local community to being a compliment to their creative writing and a record of what they enjoy about Derby, as a City….which at this moment represents their city of sanctuary.
The first lesson was a technical overview of the fundamentals of photography. The next lesson will involve going out into the streets of Derby to take photographs, and test out the theory. Each individual will create their own portfolio which will be displayed at Refugee week at the end of June.
It was great to see the small group smiling and enthused by the opportunities that photography will bring them, and, for today, their problems were forgotten for a few hours.
Anyone interested in DSLR Photography training in the Derby area then please CLICK here.
Categories: Asylum Seekers / Refugees