Jamila, a Project Worker for Refugee Council’s Wraparound Team has been reuniting families. ‘I don’t know what made me think of facebook,’ she said, ‘I just checked it.’ When Arthur, her client, arrived in the UK, he knew that his sisters were in the county, but he didn’t know how to find them. The Project Worker thought to check facebook and says, ‘The first picture to pop up with the name was his sister! He was so excited!’ The client and his sister are now back in contact.
Less than a week later Jamila was back to connecting clients with their families. This time, rather than checking facebook, she used Refugee Council’s Joint Client Database to see if the client’s father was also our client. Another staff member witnessed the reunion, ‘Jamila was very careful not to give any client information away. She called the client’s father, asked him if he had a daughter by a certain name, and asked if he would like to speak with her. The next thing you knew, the client was speaking with her father on the phone!’ The client herself was shocked to find her father was in the country, ‘I knew that my father was in Europe, but I did not know where.’
Thanks to the creative work of Refugee Council’s staff, two families are united once again. Our Wraparound Service, One Stop Service, and Children’s Section advisers help individuals to find lost family members on a daily basis as an important part of our support aimed at providing advice and orientation to newly arrived asylum seekers and refugees. In addition to facebook and JCDB, we regularly refer clients to the Red Cross International Tracing and Messaging Service. Our advisers carefully balance client confidentiality with the need for separated people to re-establish contact with their families.
(All names in this article have been changed)
Photo Credit : Bill Knight