insights on migration

Three insights on migration: Asha, our receptionist

[kc_row use_container=”yes” force=”no” column_align=”middle” video_mute=”no” _id=”577394″][kc_column width=”12/12″ video_mute=”no” _id=”875219″][kc_column_text _id=”889559″]

The Scalabrini team works with migrants and refugees every day. With such deep expertise at hand, we take the opportunity to reflect on migration with them. This month we speak to Asha, receptionist and first face of Scalabrini, who always tells her children to do something that they love – and that is exactly what she has found here at Scalabrini. Asha’s job does not end when she leaves at the end of the day. She is constantly recognised and finds great happiness in speaking to clients inside and outside of work.

1. Migration entails much more than just the movement of people. 

The definition of human migration is the movement of people from one place to another, often over long distances, with the intention of settling. Asha used to share this view of migration. “I used to think you get to a country, you get your permit and it stops there, but it is not just about needing a safe place to live or a job. You find that and then what? Next is to give back to the community you are in.” As a child, Asha remembers lots of moving. “I was born in Rwanda, but left many years ago, from the genocide time. We didn’t know what was happening as kids, the next thing you can’t go to school because it was too bad and then the next thing you’re leaving home, we don’t know where we are going and we don’t know where we are going to end. That’s how we moved.” There are many different aspects that go along with moving and Asha’s experience as a child was very different to that of her parents. There is so much to learn about migration and Asha says she is constantly learning. Migration does not only bring challenges with it, but also opportunities to learn from each other and to broaden our mindsets. “Migration is huge and I really feel like everyone needs to get to know more, get to know each other. I believe most of us are migrants or come from migrants.”

2. Many people’s view of migration is one dimensional and only favours some. We are all migrants. 

People see cross-border migrants very differently to how they see migrants from within South Africa. “If you are in South Africa and you moved here from the Eastern Cape or you moved there from the Western Cape, you are a migrant. We are all migrants. Maybe you are lucky because you are just in your country, but I am sure that if you move somewhere and everyone speaks Sotho and Afrikaans, but you only speak Xhosa and English, you are foreign in that area even though you have your green ID book.” Asha has also seen how migrants from African countries are seen in a very different light to people coming from Europe or America. “We mustn’t see migration from one side – like thinking that if we get these certain people from certain countries our economy will grow. I might come from the States with my money, but with bad intentions. I might come from Rwanda or another African country, with no money, but with my wisdom and my knowledge.”

3. Migrants that come in search of a better life are not necessarily a threat to local people.

Most people do not choose to leave their country and their home. There are many different reasons for people migrating and it is important that we try to understand why. “Someone may be here for a better life, yes, but I am not coming to work against you.” Asha says it is important to get to know people and get to know their different challenges. “I could understand I was here because of war, but how about these other people?  I believe nobody wants to leave a place where they call home, but different challenges cause people to leave. There are advantages of being in your own community, but there are more advantages of getting involved in other communities. You learn a lot.” For example, Asha remembers her father taking time on the weekends to teach people in their community to drive. A positive cycle can be created when we work together.


Spaza: a mini-documentary

How can we address xenophobia in an innovative, relevant way? Abdi, Western Cape head of the Somali Association of South Africa, recognizes that Somali shop-keepers’ entrepreneurial spirit is a ‘way of life’. At the same time, he sees that xenophobic tensions have roots in the South African economy itself. In reaction, Abdi started a Spaza Business Course, in which Somali shop-owners and South African entrepreneurs share business skills, tips and tricks of the trade.

scalabrini success story isaac

Isaac: On the Path to Emergency Medicine with the Employment Access Programme

[kc_row use_container=”yes” force=”no” column_align=”middle” video_mute=”no” _id=”408769″][kc_column width=”12/12″ video_mute=”no” _id=”629960″][kc_column_text _id=”880461″ css_custom=”{`kc-css`:{}}”]

Isaac was 25 years old when he left his home, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and made the journey to South Africa, alone. After spending time in Zambia and Zimbabwe, he arrived in Cape Town where he is now pursuing his dream of getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Care from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Isaac reflects on how the Scalabrini Employment Access Programme fitted in with his journey.

Arriving in South Africa

Back home in DRC, Isaac had completed nursing school and was working for an NGO. He was also involved in politics, but was aware of the fact that when you speak the truth in a country facing political instability, you can quickly become a target. Very sadly, an eruption of conflict saw Isaac losing members of his family. Others fled in different directions. He made the decision to leave his home, with no idea of where he would end up. 

Isaac describes his arrival in South Africa as a difficult time. “It was a very difficult situation. My first time in Cape Town was lonely, arriving in a place where you don’t know anyone, with no family. I spoke no English. It was very, very tough, but because I was determined I kept going until today.”

Finding Scalabrini

Through the Congolese community, Isaac found the Scalabrini Centre and the right programme to guide him in the direction he was wanting to go. He joined the Employment Access Programme where it was discovered that the South African Nursing Council did not recognise his qualifications, so his studying venture in South Africa began. 

Furthering His Education

“I applied at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) six times. I applied, they rejected, I applied, they rejected, but I kept on trying. In the meantime I was doing extra courses, like first aid, nursing courses, basic life support. I was doing that in order to meet the requirements of the university.” In 2017, Isaac met the requirements and was accepted into both Radiology and Emergency Services. He chose Emergency Services. 

Staying Positive

It has not been the smoothest journey for Isaac. CPUT does not provide bursaries for foreign students, which means that Isaac works night shifts at the Cape Town Mediclinic trauma centre and studies during the day. This does not leave him with much time, and he has had to re-do a few subjects. 

While Isaac is focused on graduating, he remains aware of the hardship facing his community. “I don’t just want to be focused on myself. So far I have tried hard, and I am somewhere, but I’m also thinking about other people who are on the same journey. If I can graduate it will be a plus for me, a plus for the Congolese community and a plus for other foreign communities in general as I will be better equipped to help them. When we help more people, we create the positive cycle and reduce suffering in our communities.”

Want to take action?

If you are able to help in any way, Isaac has a BackABuddy account where people can donate money to help pay for his studies. The donations will go straight to the account of CPUT. The link is provided below.

[/kc_column_text][/kc_column][/kc_row][kc_row _id=”965861″][kc_column width=”12/12″ video_mute=”no” _id=”791066″][/kc_column][/kc_row]

Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town Annual Report 2018 – 2019

[kc_row use_container=”yes” _id=”969923″][kc_column width=”12/12″ video_mute=”no” _id=”610951″][kc_spacing height=”20″ _id=”964915″][kc_feature_box layout=”4″ title=”Scalabrini Annual Report 2018 – 2019″ position=”Report” desc=”UmVhZCBvdXIgMjAxOC0yMDE5IEFubnVhbCBSZXBvcnQsIHdoaWNoIHJlY29yZHMgb3VyIHN0YXRpc3RpY3MsIHNlcnZpY2VzIGFuZCBzdWNjZXNzZXMgZm9yIHRoZSB5ZWFyISBSZWFkIGFib3V0IHRoZSBFbmdsaXNoIFNjaG9vbCBhcyB0aGV5IHdhbGsgdGhlIG9mdGVuIGdydWVsbGluZyBqb3VybmV5IG9mIGFjcXVpcmluZyBFbmdsaXNoIGFsb25nc2lkZSBvdXIgY2xpZW50cy4gTWFydmVsIGF0IHRoZSBpbmNyZWRpYmxlIGVuZXJneSBvZiB0aGUgRW1wbG95bWVudCBBY2Nlc3MgdGVhbSBhcyB0aGV5IHN1cHBvcnQgY2xpZW50cyB0aHJvdWdoIGpvYi1zZWVraW5nLiBTZWUgaG93IG9wcG9ydHVuaXR5IGFuZCBzYWZlIHNwYWNlIGJvb3N0cyBpbmRpdmlkdWFsIG1pZ3JhbnQgd29tYW4gaW4gdGhlaXIgbmV3IGhvbWUgaW4gdGhlIFdvbWVu4oCZcyBQbGF0Zm9ybS4gVXNpbmcgaW1hZ2luYXRpb24gYW5kIGNyZWF0aXZpdHkgdG8gdW5kZXJzdGFuZCBob3cgdG8gbGluayBhY3Jvc3Mgb3VyIGRpZmZlcmVuY2VzIGFuZCBmb3N0ZXIgYXR0aXR1ZGVzIHRoYXQgYWxsb3cgZm9yIG11dHVhbCByZXNwZWN0LCB0aGUgVU5JVEUgeW91dGggcHJvZ3JhbW1lIGhhcyBoYWQgYW4gZXhjaXRpbmcgeWVhciBleHBsb3JpbmcgdGhlIHBvc2l0aXZlIGltcGFjdCBvZiBkZWJhdGUgYXMgYSB0b29sIHRvIGludGVycm9nYXRlIHNlbGYtaWRlbnRpdHkgYW5kIGhvdyB0aGF0IGlkZW50aXR5IGlzIGV4cHJlc3NlZCBhbmQgcGVyY2VpdmVkLiBJbiB0ZXJtcyBvZiBBZHZvY2FjeSBQcm9ncmFtbWUsIHdlIGhhdmUgc2VlbiBzb21lIHdvbmRlcmZ1bCBjcmVhdGl2ZSBncm93dGggc3BhcmtlZCBieSBvbmdvaW5nIGxlZ2FsIGNoYWxsZW5nZXMgZmFjZWQgYnkgcmVmdWdlZXMgYW5kIG1pZ3JhbnRzIGluIFNvdXRoIEFmcmljYS4gVGhlIGNvbnRpbnVlZCBjbG9zdXJlIG9mIENhcGUgVG93buKAmXMgUmVmdWdlZSBSZWNlcHRpb24gT2ZmaWNlIOKAkyBhbHRob3VnaCBkaXNhcHBvaW50aW5nIOKAkyBiaXJ0aGVkIGEgY3JlYXRpdmUgYWN0aXZpc20gY2FtcGFpZ24sIHdoaWNoIGJyb3VnaHQgYmVhdXR5IGFuZCBjb2xvdXIgdG8gdGhlIFJSTyEgVW5kZXIgdGhlIGhhc2h0YWcgI09wZW5UaGVSUk8gYW5kIGhlYWRlZCBieSBTb25rZSBHZW5kZXIgSnVzdGljZSwgdGhlIGNhbXBhaWduIGluY3JlYXNlZCBhd2FyZW5lc3MgYW5kIGV2b2tlZCBtdWNoLW5lZWRlZCBtZWRpYSBhdHRlbnRpb24gdG8gdGhlIGlzc3VlLg==” show_button=”yes” button_text=”Read full report” button_link=”||_blank” _id=”72264″ image=”1625″ css_custom=”{`kc-css`:{`any`:{`image`:{`width|.content-image`:`60px`}}}}”][/kc_column][/kc_row]