• Exploring the experiences of African refugees and asylum seeking women in a northern town in the UK

      Harlow, Elizabeth; Taiwo-Pala, Adenike R. O. (University of Chester, 2012-04)
      This research aims to gain an insight into the experiences of African women refugees and asylum seekers, in order to provide an in-depth perspective of their experiences since arriving in the UK. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 5 participants in a northern town in the UK; this means participants were selected due to their specific characteristics to fit in with the study design. The main criteria for the subjects of the study were that they are African women refugees or asylum seekers, aged 21 and above. Participants were recruited through a drop-in centre in a northern town in the UK and were interviewed in the English Language, using semi-structured interviews in order to generate in-depth information. The interviews were hand written as the women in the study did not consent to tape recording as originally planned. However, this allowed a deeper flow of information, and I was able to immerse myself in the interview contexts and gained a robust understanding of the responses. Thematic analysis was the most appropriate method for analysis. Major interpretation from this study revealed themes of restricted access to state welfare provisions as well as employment restrictions. The study further reveals other themes such as, communication difficulties, racism, uncertainties, powerlessness, segregation and isolation, provision of help through voluntary organisations, choice of destination and finally theme of peace and safety. The themes in this study reflect existing academic literature on asylum seekers. However, this research added to the existing body of knowledge by exploring how women who participated in the study felt about the UK. They believed it is more peaceful and secure than where they have come from. They also believe that the UK is a good choice of destination based on the justice and welfare system, also because their countries were colonised by the UK. The main limitation of this study was that the samples were small and not representative of all African women refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Therefore, recommendations are made for a larger scale project that will gather information from more refugees and asylum seeking women. This research should look for examples of lack of social and economic engagement within the environment and the community. It should compare the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees in different parts of the UK in order to ascertain the impact of current dispersal policy on asylum seekers in the UK. Moreover, studies that examine the long-term effects of the entire asylum processes on health and well-being of asylum seekers in the UK are also deemed important. Finally, recommendations are made that Social Workers who work with these groups of people should endeavour to work in an anti-discriminatory way and try as much as possible to offer emotional support in form of counselling services for these groups of individuals.
    • Giving a Voice, Healing Trauma: Exploring the Usefulness of Art Therapy with Refugee Children

      Lovell, Andy; Lowndes; Akthar, Zahra (University of Chester, 2017-10)
      Children who seek refuge to the United Kingdom have experienced a journey witnessing many traumatic events, separation and losses. These experiences can have a profound effect on a child’s well-being and resettlement in the host country. Art therapy is an avenue which can help these children to heal their trauma, and explore the feelings and changes that arise with becoming a refugee. This research set in an interpretive paradigm, informed by hermeneutic phenomenology explores the usefulness of art therapy with refugee children. It aims to investigate this enquiry through the lens of art therapists to gain insights from lived experiences and stories. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted, which were explored and analysed through using thematic analysis, which discovered five key themes these were identified as: (1) Giving Voice, (2) Rebuilding Trust, Opening Wounds, (3) Sharing Stories, Healing Pain, (4) Exploring Identity, Discovering New- Self, and (5) Understanding Art Therapy. Upon reflection, the four initial findings merged together highlighting the two key usefulness of art therapy, these were established as: (a) providing refugee children with a safe space to heal and discover new-self, and (b) giving refugee children a voice to express, and share their stories. Despite the last theme (understanding art therapy) being established as a limitation, this created an area for future research to help inform art therapy practice. From the findings discovered, it was concluded that art therapy is a useful form of psychotherapy for refugee children. Art therapy provides these children with a safe space to heal, and gives them a voice to express and be heard.