From Acts of Care to Practice-Based Resistance: Refugee-Sector Service Provision and Its Impact(s) on Integration
2. Immigration & Asylum Policy Context
3. UK Refugee Sector
4. Social Connections and Integration
5. The Politicisation of Care
7.1. Connecting: Building a Network of Support
All of them have been equally important. All of them, inside me all of them, I cannot value more than another one because they have support me in different ways.(Diego, refugee participant)
They’re all important… Each has played their role in my life in the UK.(Janine, refugee participant)
That’s why I raise organisations who are willing to help refugees. When you’re there, you will share information or you will tell people your background, what you want to do, what are your plans, and people are always there to help you to somehow help you to meet your needs or to help you achieve your goals. They get information from me, I get information from them, and with that information I just do everything.(Aaron, refugee participant)
7.2. Caring: Offering Kindness and Warmth
And the best thing I can describe [name of the caseworker, Organisation 1] is she’s encouraging and also kind of worked on my self-esteem because when you’re in a different country, you kind of are more hesitant, I guess. So that was like a brilliant experience. And I think all I’m doing right now is just, in effect… like a, resulted from her hard work.(Miriam, refugee participant)
What’s nice about what the classes [Organisation 3] teach you, how to speak, how to read, and these are all equally important… … Language is the basis for a social life, so when you have the language, you’re much more confident anyway.(Mahmoud, refugee participant)
The children, too, my son, he likes going to the office to see them. He sees them as an auntie and uncle [laughs].(Aisha, refugee participant)
I didn’t have anybody in Glasgow, it was just me. So, they come for visits, they call me, they encourage me to come to the office, so it was like a second home as well. I like seeing them. And when they have programme, family programme, we are invited to join in.(Aisha, refugee participant)
I think the most important thing is I see myself just beginning my life, second life after I moved to UK. It’s a clean notebook that I’m just writing my own things. So, it is always good to communicate such people like [staff member at a refugee organisation] the people who help us throughout that time, up to now.(Fazil, refugee participant)
Others, like Elena, spoke of the warmth created by her contact with a partner organisation and linked this to becoming integrated into the city where she was now living:She’s [caseworker] really kind and she does everything, like, with her heart, do you know what I mean? Because she knows refugees, she knows about all hard experiences and situations that all refugees were in.(Miriam, refugee participant)
They have help for you to try to maintain as a warm environment for you, to integrate you into the city.(Elena, refugee participant)
7.3. Resisting: Enabling Access to Rights
They [organisation 1] made sure the registration for my son’s school and accommodation […] And there is a form that I’m supposed to have entered for while in pregnancy, I didn’t do that, so they helped me with that. […] and they also supported me with clothing for my son and the baby as well… I needed to have an account for the clothing grants, I got a letter from [organisation 1] to open the accounts, though it wasn’t easy, but with their support I was able to—[…] it’s for their support that made it possible.(Aisha, refugee participant)
All through the process, they are always supportive. At a point, if I had to go to the Home Office [to sign in], I would drop my daughter in their office, and I would be free to go, and come back for the baby.(Aisha, refugee participant)
Even I have very difficult life with Home Office housing process but [partner organisation] was behind me, they help me… […] they are still working [to help me] …after I get refugee leave to remain, they finish all the child benefit… from the reception to the manager, yes I’ve known them for seven years…(Tsegaye, refugee participant)
[There are] barriers we find in our work that prevent us focusing on work we’d like to do… a lot clients want to focus on financial stability and housing […] It’s difficult to focus on long-term objectives when you don’t have stable income.(Jenny, integration adviser)
Practical support, it seems, can overlap with acts of care and also serve a subversive, political function. Practitioners from the refugee sector perceived “walk[ing] alongside refugees”, as an active act of protecting refugees rights and, we argue, of resistance. Practitioners explained that they attempted to redress their clients’ marginalisation through advice and support, something which occupied a great deal of their time:Thank goodness, I can eat, I have a roof over my head, and I have clothes, and they made me feel—they make you feel respected, like a living human being. Other than that, I don’t really need much else.(Mahmoud, refugee participant)
Many statutory organisations don’t understand the rights refugees have or their obligations to support them. In a landscape where the systems, structures and processes in this country are not clear for anyone, they are particularly unclear for marginalised populations, such as refugees. We spend most of our time firefighting with inaccessible systems.(Maya, Integration Adviser)
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
This work was undertaken as part of the AMIF-funded ‘New Scots Integration—A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion’ ABM3 Project (UK/2020/PR/0104).
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Käkelä, E.; Baillot, H.; Kerlaff, L.; Vera-Espinoza, M. From Acts of Care to Practice-Based Resistance: Refugee-Sector Service Provision and Its Impact(s) on Integration. Soc. Sci. 2023, 12, 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12010039
Käkelä E, Baillot H, Kerlaff L, Vera-Espinoza M. From Acts of Care to Practice-Based Resistance: Refugee-Sector Service Provision and Its Impact(s) on Integration. Social Sciences. 2023; 12(1):39. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12010039Chicago/Turabian Style
Käkelä, Emmaleena, Helen Baillot, Leyla Kerlaff, and Marcia Vera-Espinoza. 2023. "From Acts of Care to Practice-Based Resistance: Refugee-Sector Service Provision and Its Impact(s) on Integration" Social Sciences 12, no. 1: 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12010039