From late 2005 to early 2006 I worked with a group of Somali refugees and asylum seekers in Sheffield. The group had emerged around concerns about Somali children’s achievement in school and hoped to find out what sorts of particular problems their children might face. Together we designed a survey based on a bilingual questionnaire; the survey was carried out by Somali volunteers and the group worked together to interpret the results.
The final report was presented at a large meeting of policy makers, service providers and service users at Sheffield Town Hall in March 2006. The report includes data about the Somali community’s concerns about education; about the culture gap between youth and parents; and about the kinds of solutions that Somalis hope to see. A number of best practice solutions are described, most strikingly the highly successful efforts of Somali link workers in Tower Hamlets.
The Somali group Link Action is currently working with the Northern Refugee Centre to bring about some of the potential solutions described in the report.
You’ve probably heard a little about citizenship ceremonies. Here’s what the Home Office induces us with. Is it the encouragement to become a part of a wider community in which you love and respect others and recieve love in return? Does it have the imagination and excitement required to bring people into the social and political community in an active way, in the full knowledge that they can make their country a better place? Does it bugger. <!–more–>
According to the front page of the Home Office’s British Citizenship website, its bureaucracy stupid.
To become a British citizen you will need to apply for British Nationality.
Once you have been granted British citizenship there will be a ceremony to attend.
After your ceremony, the local authority will inform the Home Office of your attendance. You are then eligible to apply for a British passport.
Pretty awesome huh? And what happens at the ceremony I hear you cry. The picture of stonehenge on the website conjures images of dryadic ritual, barefooted, and crowned in ivy, a dance of equals inviting the newcomer in. A long night of hedonic ritual to follow during which all eventually bow to the British psilocybins. Oh no, turns out its an oath of allegiance to the Queen. To the Queen?! Count me out.
Oath of allegiance
I (name) swear by Almighty God that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law.
Affirmation of allegiance
I (name) do solemnly and sincerely affirm that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law.
After the Oath or affirmation, you will take the citizenship Pledge
I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.
The Superintendent Registrar will then present you with your citizenship certificate and an information pack. There may be an informal celebration with light refreshments.