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‘Limbo Life’ – The Cost of Waiting Campaign

April 16, 2014

“Waiting makes me feel lost and frustrated”

Young people from the self advocacy group ‘Brighter Futures’ have launched two powerful short films about their experiences of waiting for decisions on their immigration and asylum cases in the UK. In the videos they share their stories and experiences of ‘limbo life’.

Young people can wait up to 8 years to hear a decision on their case but according to the UKBA, a case owner should aim to conclude an application within 6 months, thus allowing a young person to integrate and begin to live a full life in Britain. The group, partly funded by the Supported Options Initiative at Paul Hamlyn Foundation, are calling for young people’s cases to be resolved so that they can stop waiting, and start living.

Brighter Futures, with support from Praxis Community Projects and Kazzum launched ‘The Cost of Waiting Campaign’ and this report last year to raise awareness on the implications that living in limbo has upon the lives and aspirations of young migrants and young  asylum seekers in the UK. The campaign aims to bring this issue to the attention of civil society, politicians and other young people.


Stories from outstanding migrant & refugee women in the UK

April 3, 2014

The Women on the Move awards took place in March 2014. Co-hosted and organised by Migrants’ Rights Network, the awards celebrate and support the outstanding work of migrant and refugee women, the media and their champions around the UK.

Here are some of the 2014 winners:

  • Woman of the Year: Lilian Seenoi, a refugee from Kenya and founder of the the North West Migrant Forum (NWMF) in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
  • Special Jury Award: Diana Nammi, Director of the Iranian Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, for her ongoing work to protect women from ‘honour’ killing.
  • Young Woman of the Year: Tatiana Garavito left Colombia at the age of 18. Since then she has been advocating for exploited workers from the Latin American community in London. She is currently the Director of Latin American Women’s Rights Service.

Watch the videos below about the work and experiences of Lilian, Diana and Tatiana.

What is your personal experience of immigration?

March 4, 2014

Open Generation, a digital project developed by Migrants’ Rights Network in partnership with NUS and Unison have teamed up with the Huffington Post to highlight the younger generation’s views on immigration. They’re looking for 60 second videos from people sharing their personal views on what immigration/emigration means to them and they’ve launched the Free Movement photo competition for people to share their images and interpretations of free movement.

They are also running an event on 3rd April showcasing some of the films, a photography exhibition and a debate on free movement and multiculturalism.

Visit Open Generation for more information.


Undocumented migrant talking about working in London

March 4, 2014

Ferhat (name changed) came to the UK in 2002 from Turkey entering the UK clandestinely. In the UK he has been working in his cousin’s garage as a motor mechanic. Here he talks about his experiences as an undocumented migrant living in London.

This is one of three films commissioned by UndocNet, a project exploring the labour market experiences and aspirations of irregular migrants in London from three countries of origin – Bangladesh, China and Turkey (including Kurds and Northern Cypriots).

The films are part of the Economic and Social Research Council funded two year research project which is a collaboration between the Department of Sociology, City University London and the Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University. The films are themed around economic downturn, increasingly restrictive immigration controls, raids on businesses suspected of employing people without correct documentation and the deportation of irregular migrants.

They are being used as digital storytelling tools to improve understanding and knowledge of the lives of those in the UK who are without documents.

Project progress, “PHF should…”, free training for the registration of children as British citizens plus more

October 3, 2013

2nd.Friend could be part of the Public Service Launchpad Scholarship programme

2nd.Friend developers

Second Friend developers

This new initiative runs from September 2013 to April 2014 with the aim of boosting innovation in public services. Based at The Hub in Westminder, the Public Service Launchpad Scholarship is run by Hub Launchpad and FutureGov. It would give 2nd.Friend the opportunity to work with peer projects, mentors and advisers working in the field of social care.

2nd.Friend identify with three themes of the programme:

1) Transforming Older People, Adult and Children’s Services

2) Public Service and Multi-Agency Integration

3) Supporting Economic Growth and people on Low Incomes

There is also a Public Service Innovation Camp on October 10th where groups will work together to explore solutions to social problems that are getting in the way of public services addressing issues including social care, multi agency working and local economies.

First StartFirst Start refine website content and build relationships

First Start continue to develop a solution into providing real time, trustworthy information to children and youths with irregular status on location based support services in the UK. The team are currently building relationships with orientation services and refining the appropriate content has been greatly supported by team members with specialised knowledge and expertise within migrant organisations and community groups. The team have just completed their research on various languages for localisation, which will be used in the text messaging service and website.

“PHF should…” The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s strategic review welcomes your input

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation are looking for a range of ideas for consideration as they review their new plan for 2014. They hope new ideas and challenges will help them to structure their thinking around the Foundation’s focus and how it should operate in its next strategic plan.

PHF shouldPHF have set up a Strategy Review blog where they are sharing thoughts over the coming months. Director, Martin Brookes commented on the blog: “We hope the device ‘PHF should…’ spreads widely, to people and organisations we know well, but also beyond to others who have valid and valuable suggestions. There is a great deal of evidence and insight held by individuals and organisations active in our fields of interest that we want to hear about. In addition, openly soliciting views increases the scrutiny we face. Scrutiny is a good disciplining device. It will help ensure we do the best job we can.”

You can follow the review progress on their Twitter feed and main website. Twitter users can tweet their thoughts using the hashtag #PHFshould. Ideas on one side of A4 can be emailed to PHF at this address.

Life Without Papers nominated for another award

The blog about undocumented migrant families and young people’s stories, written by photographer and writer Len Grant has made the shortlist for the Blog North Awards 2013. The awards grew out of the Manchester Blog Awards which were established in 2006 to promote blogging and independent writing in the North West of England. LWP is placed in the category for Best Writing on a Blog. Voting is now closed and the winners will be announced on Wednesday October 16th 2013.

Free training session: Registration of children as British citizens

Co-delivered by Coram Children’s Legal Centre with the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens, this free training session will provide an introduction for non-legal professionals to registering children as British citizens, including identifying children who might be eligible, how the process works, and where to go for further advice and assistance. The Project for the Registration of Children as British citizens is led by Solange Valdez and sponsored by Ealing Law Centre. The event is being hosted by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation as part of the Supported Options Initiative.

Date: Tuesday, 12 November 2013, 4pm to 6.30pm
Location: Paul Hamlyn Foundation, 9-11 Leeke Street, London WC1X 9HY
Cost: FREE. All resources and refreshments provided.

Trainers: Solange Valdez, solicitor, Ealing Law Centre and Anita Hurrell, legal & policy officer, Coram Children’s Legal Centre

To book, please see the CCLC website,  where you can download the booking form and email it to For further information about this course, please contact or 0207 713 2022.

We’ll be posting more news about the Undoc Camp team’s progress with their individual projects over the coming months. Please follow @digitalundoc on Twitter for regular updates.

Undoc Camp projects go live and the latest in digital innovation in the sector

July 5, 2013

In addition to the many brilliant events that happened during Refugee Week, there have been a number of developments here with Digital Undoc that we would like to share. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since Undoc Camp. The three projects developed in July 2012 are well underway with seed grant support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

2ndFriend launch website at Child Helpline International Conference in Brussels

2ndFriend ( enables young people, including migrants and refugees, to communicate securely and anonymously with trusted counsellors from relevant organisations through a single website. Site developer Amy Whitney was recently in Brussels talking about the project and making contacts at Child Helpline International (CHI), Fifth European Consultation for Child Helplines, where the role and contribution of child helplines was discussed and their future potential examined. To find out more about the consultation, click here.

First Start scoping area to pilot project

First Start are close to launching their website and piloting the project in London:

 “First StartWe’ve developed a prototype website which should go live in the next 2-3 months. We’re currently scoping out a suitable area for testing in the London area. It’s been a great benefit having a team with such a mix of skills; made up of designers, developers and sector workers. It’s allowed us to have a good understanding of the problem we’re dealing with and develop solutions from a lot of different angles. Hopefully the project will run a successful pilot, then we’ll go through a few iterations and ideally launch in a few more areas where we can make a difference.” Jacob Payne, website developer

Public Law Project developing prototype

The Public Law Project and tech designer Stephanie Troeth have developed a prototype for online applications to their Exceptional Funding Programme. They are seeking funding to continue their work in order to build it. They are currently working on costing and scoping to see how best this fits with PLP’s current web presence. Watch this space for more updates soon.

Digital media used for migrant inclusion

We’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for projects that promote understanding and involvement of migrants using digital media. Here are a few that have caught our eye:

Migration Museum Project: Currently in the process of putting together Britain’s first major Museum of Migration, the Project aims to present the story of movement both in and out of the UK. Their first exhibition ‘100 Years of Migration’ has just opened in the Hackney Museum which presents an array of photographs documenting the many faces of migration in Britain over the years. Their website is also packed full of interesting resources and articles on migration and related subjects, and visitors to the site can also contribute their own images resonating with these themes. We would also recommend this podcast which discusses migration in the digital age. Digital media

Bridge + Tunnel Productions: Founded by Tina Gharavi (director of ‘I Am Nasrine’), B + T are an exciting independent production company, using creative media to explore questions of migration, identity and diversity. As well as pursuing mainstream film production, B + T has a charity sister organisation named Bridge + Tunnel Voices who work with young people and migrant communities.

Open See: Although the related exhibition has long been and gone, photographer Jim Goldberg’s Open See project can still be seen online. The collection of photographs and artefacts tells the story of individuals who have sought asylum, migrated or been trafficked into Europe’s margins and documents their struggle.

Good Practices for Urban Refugees: UNHCR’s Urban Refugee Steering Group has just launched a new website to support practitioners working with refugees in urban areas. This is an excellent resource for professionals and includes case studies, toolkits, guidelines and a wealth of information to promote good practice in responding to the needs of urban refugees.

British Future: Think-tank working on questions of identity and integration, migration and opportunities that encourage open conversation about these issues. As well as accessing the many resources available on their website, such as publications and podcasts, it is also possible for visitors to the site to share videos about their personal stories and their relationship to Britain.

In the coming months, we’ll continue to share the progress of the Undoc Camp teams and you can follow @DigitalUndoc for regular updates.

Carlos Saavedra in conversation at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

July 2, 2013

Earlier this year, US activist Carlos Saavedra spoke with trustee Beeban Kidron at a public event at PHF. He shared thoughts on life without secure immigration status and told us about his experience in organising thousands of people to defend the rights of undocumented young people. Reflecting on the beginnings of his campaign, Saavedra emphasises in the video below, the foundational importance of sharing stories online and highlights how training opportunities, Facebook and digital media helped to facilitate the movement.


Carlos Saavedra at PHF from Paul Hamlyn Foundation on Vimeo.


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