We have been heavily involved in raising awareness of the plight of refugees from Syria for quite some time. In September 2015, we spoke at a vigil for Syrian refugees in Broughty Ferry, and we put a lot of effort into campaigning for Dundee to join the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme.
In December 2015, our Refugee Support Project officially came into being when Dundee began to receive and resettle refugees from Syria in the local area. We are the first point of contact between the council and the refugees who have arrived as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme, and we support them in every way we can.
We are uniquely placed in Dundee to provide a service to refugee families arriving from Syria, with Arabic-speaking volunteers as part of our team, along with wide cultural awareness and a welcoming atmosphere in the city.
When the first refugee families came to Scotland, we met them at the airport and have supported them ever since, with each family having a named Refugee Support Officer (RSO) working with them. We can now see the rewarding results of our work with the first families, they are feeling comfortable in their new surroundings, gaining more and more confidence and independence, and are well-placed to help support new families in settling into life in Dundee.
What we do
We support the refugee families with integration and finding their feet in a new country. Refugee Support Officers (RSOs), who speak Arabic, keep in regular contact with the families, ensuring they know where to go for support, information, and financial and housing needs. They also act as the first point of contact for other agencies such as social work, housing, and the NHS to provide information about appointments and other services. RSOs also accompany the families to appointments with other services, making sure they understand and are comfortable with everything that is going on.
Amina regularly organise trips and activities for all of the women who use our services to encourage them to meet new people and learn new skills. This takes place in partnership with our Building Bridges project. We welcome and encourage the newly resettled ladies to join us and take part, and this has been a great way for them to make new friends and feel part of the local community.
One of the men being supported by our service told us “The way people have treated us here compared to Lebanon is a big difference. People are kind and helpful. The services from Amina were excellent and nothing should be improved. Safa [an RSO] has helped us to get to know Dundee and all the facilities.”
The helpline is a listening ear for women across Scotland. All calls are strictly confidential and non-judgemental; we always deal with clients in a faith and culturally-sensitive manner.
We can help women in English, Urdu, Arabic, Bangla and Swahili and, when required, using online interpreting.0808 801 0301