International Migrants Day marks a time to reflect on and celebrate the role of migrants in our community. With that in mind, we would love to share with you an example of the contributions that one of our beneficiaries has made to UK society.
Ela* is a Turkish activist and qualified teacher. After viewing mistreatment by the Turkish authorities towards ethnic minorities, she became a member of a Kurdish political party. She also became a trade union representative. As this is illegal in Turkey, Ela was imprisoned twice. She was subject to physical torture and violent sexual abuse while detained.
Ela had to flee to the UK to escape harassment by the authorities. She has since been granted refugee status.
Despite the hardships she has faced, Ela is passionate about using her experience for good. She wants to give back to the community she is now a part of. She is heavily involved with a local Kurdish Community Centre, and volunteers with a torture survivor-led activist network, helping those who went through a similar experience to seek help and freedom.
Ela also dreams of working in human rights. She reached out to PoC for help in achieving this, requesting a bursary for an MA degree to further her employability and knowledge of the sector. She was granted the bursary for her master’s in 2017, allowing her to continue to follow this dream. She also partially self-funded her degree by working as a supply teacher and a domestic violence support worker in a women’s centre. Her support is ensuring that other women and children in need are protected, and able to flourish in a safe and loving community.
Ela’s story provides just a snapshot of the incredible work that refugees and migrants do within the UK. Thanks to the support of our donors, Ela, and others like her are contributing in vital and diverse ways.
From all of us at PoC, we wish a Happy International Migrants Day to each and every one of the 281 million international migrants (approx.). We can only hope that more is done to welcome and integrate migrants like Ela, to help us build stronger, kinder, and more resilient communities.
*pseudonym used to protect her identity