First Field Trip To Baraka Youth Association


We were lucky enough to take our first community visit to the Baraka Youth association, to meet with Abdullahi Ali, the project coordinator. We received an incredibly warm welcome, above and beyond what many of us were expecting, and were made to feel comfortable straight away.
Abdullahi outlined many of the concerns within the local Somali community which had been brought to the attention of his organisation, as well as briefing us on the history of Somali immigration to the UK. The key issues included:
– Language barriers, regarding both the provision of English teaching for adults, and the ability of younger members of the community to speak their native language.
– Education within the community; many Somalis are unqualified whilst around 3% achieve qualifications at a higher level.- Despite being one of the oldest communities of African immigrants in the UK, Somali born immigrants have the lowest rates of employment.

As with many of the immigrant communities in the UK, many Somalis retain strong links with their home country, both cultural and financial, and this has contributed to their strong national identity. Despite this, Abdullahi told us how many Somalis, especially those of younger generations, were beginning to forge dual nationalities.

I think that all who attended this, the first of the community outreach meetings for the research project, were struck by the warmth and sincerity of Abdullahi and his willingness to engage with what we are trying to achieve. The meeting was both informative, and provocative, and Abdullahi was very open, sharing with us many personal stories and giving his own opinions on what is important to the Somali community in London. I think that we all hope that the further meetings with other community leaders will yield such promising results and engaging experiences!

Christopher Kelly


About csdinternationalcommunityproject

The International Community Project was launched by the Centre for Study of Democracy of University of Westminster to undertake empirical research into different communities, Turkish, Somalian, Kurdish, Sudanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Latin American’s and... in London. In fact, London is a melting pot of different ethnic groups and thus an important research field for students of Politics, International Relations and Development Studies. Indeed, in the last 30 years the impact of globalisation, especially since 9/11, has meant the further integration of economics and politics, something which has generated a variety of contradictions in the world, particularly here in London. Communities in London have not been immune from this process as a range of ideas and issues including religion, nationalism, democracy, security and IR, inclusion/exclusion, gender, migration and remittance and development, have taken centre stage. This project is about looking at these issues by taking a practical approach; it will involve the students, with the Department’s guidance and support, conducting research related to Politics, IR, and Development, with the aim of unravelling the underlining reasons behind these changes and hopefully, putting forward some solutions. Students will be involved in going out into the community of choice to engage in research, in conducting an interview within that community, with a range of a wide range of people... Finally, the research can be integrated to research and interviews into students' coursework and especially, in the final year dissertation.

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