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MY TAKE ON THE NEW ASYLUM ASPEN CARD DEBACULE

An Aspen Card, as described by Privacy International  “is a debit payment card given to UK asylum seekers [people seeking asylum] by the Home Office. The Aspen Card provides basic subsistence support, but purchases on the card are closely monitored by the Home Office, making it an insidious surveillance tool.”

I believe that changes should not be made if there is going to be major failures. I liken the changes made to the Aspen card by the Home Office to the COVID-19 vaccine. Trials are made but the vaccine is not used immediately until there is 99% confidence in its success rate. With the Home Office Aspen cards, the opposite is the case.

On 21 May 2021, the Home Office basically introduced the change from one Aspen card provider, Sodexo to another, Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) and did not trial it to see how effective it would be. Instead, PFS issued cards en mass to people seeking asylum. This seemed like a trial and is failing in all ramifications.

I would like to reiterate that most people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom are given £39.63 a week as subsistence and also not allowed to work till their case is determined. This could take years. The £39 a week subsistence is not enough to cover basic needs. Now most people seeking asylum have not received the new Aspen cards. Where some have received them, there is no money in them. Some of these cards are being sent to wrong addresses or recipients.

This is absurd because this has been going on for weeks now and individuals/families are having to go without food or rely on food banks. More details can be found in the Guarding news:“Thousands of asylum seekers go hungry after cash card problems”

Charities such as African Rainbow Family and other organisations are being overburdened with this issue. These Charities are speaking out but as usual, just like the demands to increase the support, this demand is being kept in a waiting list or queue with the rest of our demands.

I call this inhumane because we should call a spade a spade. I am calling for the Home Office to look into this immediately!

You can make a donation towards food parcels for people seeking asylum here.

A big thank you to African Rainbow Family and other organisations that are supporting people seeking asylum with food parcels. I do urge people to support by raising their voices, donating and so on.

You can make a donation towards food parcels for people seeking asylum here.

End

BY NESSAKEM NWOSU – TRUSTEE, AFRICAN RAINBOW FAMILY.

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#BAME Diversity equality Freedom Gay Health Human right Justice Lesbian* LGBT LGBT Rights News Refugees sexual orientation Solidarity Trustee Uncategorized

Join our Trustee Board!

We are recruiting for new Trustees to join our Trustee Board!

African Rainbow Family (ARF) is a small registered charity (registration number 1185902) that support LGBTIQ people of African heritage and the wider Black Asian Minority Ethnic groups. ARF was established in 2014 in the wake of some Commonwealth countries in Africa’s toxic and draconian anti-gay laws which seek to criminalise LGBTIQs for the preference of whom they choose to love. ARF provides practical support for LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum and campaigns for global LGBTIQ equality.

We need experienced members of the public to join our existing Board. We are particularly keen to recruit members who have one or more of the following skills:

  • Experience of managing a growing and dynamic independent organisation
  • Financial management – able to act as our treasurer.
  • Experience of managing press and publicity.
  • Experience in a secretarial role.

 For further details please click here or below for the Trustee’s Advert

To apply, please click here or below for the Application Pack

Closing date: 5pm Wednesday 30th June, 2021.

Need more information? Contact us at:

info@africanrainbowfamily.org

07711285567

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#BAME #Coronavirus #Covid-19 #pandemic Asylum Seekers equality Funding Gay Health HIV/AIDS Human right Lesbian* LGBT LGBT Rights Mental Health Refugees Uncategorized Well Being wellbeing

Covid-19 Impacts on LGBTIQ People Seeking Asylum

On 5th October 2020, our own Nadim Uddin, African Rainbow Family‘s member and Media Coordinator delivered a presentation on behalf of African Rainbow Family to the National Emergencies Trust (NET)’s Equity Scrutiny Group (‘ESG’). The presentation was held on Zoom and based on ensuring that the ESG works to ensure swift, fair and equitable disbursal of funds during the Covid-19 crisis from a local perspective.

Nadim presented to the ESG, the impacts of Covid-19 on LGBTIQ people seeking asylum including those that are not LGBTIQ. He presented African Rainbow Family’s emergency and ongoing response to our over 500 members across the United Kingdom. He also suggested what actions should be taken to reach, support all people seeking asylum especially during this pandemic and on the longer term.

Details of the presentation can be found here.

Nadim says:

“The virus does not discriminate, and neither should we.”

The NET said:

“The ESG needs to know the impact of Covid-19 across the country (each nation has a different response), the structural/systemic issues and impacts on communities (each country has different policies, procedures and law), issues for the Covid-19 recovery and, longer-term, what are the likely issues we will need to consider if there is an emergency like a significant flood in Cumbria or Scotland or another bomb attack, like Manchester.”

Nadim co-presented to the ESG with Paul Roberts OBE, Chief Executive Officer of LGBT Consortium.Paul presented from the national perspective. Feedback from the ESG was positive.

A member of African rainbow Family says:

“I don’t demand much, just enough to survive.’’

Consider donating to support our life-saving work with LGBTIQ people seeking asylum.

You can download details of the presentation.

For further information on this or any other subject(s), contact African Rainbow Family here.

End.

8th Oct. 2020.

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#BAME equality Freedom Gay Health Human right Lesbian* LGBT LGBT Rights Mental Health News Refugees Uncategorized wellbeing

African Rainbow Family: Submission on Unequal Impact of Covid-19

On 30th April 2020, African Rainbow Family made a Submission To Women and Equalities Committee on Unequal Impact: Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the impact on people with protected characteristics as it affects LGBTIQ people seeking asylum. You can read our recommendations to the Women and Equalities Select Committee here.

The inequalities affecting Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, which our members are part of, have been shockingly and brutally laid bare in the UK with the publication of the study by The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre into Covid-19 deaths, revealing the pandemic disproportionately impacts BAME communities. Yet the reasons behind this, social inequality, lack of equity and racial discrimination are still overlooked by many. People seeking asylum are not allowed to work, they live on £5.39 a day and have a range of added inequalities of social isolation, lack of housing, finance and access to healthcare. LGBTIQ people seeking asylum are in particularly, hardest hit.

Self isolating, observing the government’s guidelines of stay home, save life and save the NHS in those shared accommodations has been negatively impactful on our members’ mental health and wellbeing given the amount of homophobia they are subjected to on a daily basis. The following was a quote from TH, one of our members:

“I don’t know how I am going to survive this! My other housemates always make homophobic comments at me whenever I pass through the communal areas. They usually say: it is because of these gay people that God is punishing the whole world and causing this unimaginable number of deaths. I wish for these gays to be struck down by lightening.” Says TH, member, African Rainbow Family.

African Rainbow Family takes the health and safety of our members and the population at large very seriously. We encourage our members to keep safe and healthy at home. We urge the Home Office to consider increasing the amount of weekly subsistence for LGBTIQ and non LGBTIQ people seeking asylum urgently during this Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Some deaths can arise out of hunger and inadvertently counted as due to Covid-19.

Finally, there is need for the government to make a statement to address homophobic attacks upon LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in Home Office shared accommodations to avoid some of them becoming homeless or having suicidal ideation.

You can read our recommendations to the Women and Equalities Select Committee here.

End