first_imgNewsCommunityHousingPoliticsRoadblocks on asylum seekers’ work journeyBy Cian Reinhardt – August 8, 2018 6894 WhatsApp Previous articleStrong Irish contingent added to final Electric Picnic line upNext articlePHOTOS: After Dark – Old Quarter Cian Reinhardthttp://www.limerickpost.ieJournalist & Digital Media Coordinator. Covering human interest and social issues as well as creating digital content to accompany news stories. [email protected] Linkedin Email Facebook TechPost | Episode 9 | Pay with Google, WAZE – the new Google Maps? and Speak don’t Type! Unstoppable Sean shows that all things are possible TAGSasylum seekerDirect provisionIrelandLimerick City and CountyRefugeeRight to Work Twittercenter_img Advertisement Is Aer Lingus taking flight from Shannon? Print NEW legislation, which will allow asylum seekers living in direct provision the right to work does not go far enough, many living in the system believe.Recent changes to legislation allow asylum seekers living in the Direct Provision to apply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for permission to work.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up People in the system are at different stages in their applications, Ibrahim Sorie Kabba of Limerick’s Right to Work movement explained. “People who had first instance decisions, they were rejected and they are at appeals level, those people are not eligible to work. Those people have been in the system for four, five, six years,”The Sierra Leone native has been granted his right to work after 9 months living in the system, but says he is continuing the campaign for those who have not been granted the right to work.Mr Sorie Kabba told the Limerick Post, “Those people have been forced to live a life of institutionalisation, in which they have been sitting in those centres not being able to do anything. They cannot work, because the meaning of what being an asylum seeker is, is being edited to satisfy a few individuals who are new in the system.”Many people living in Direct Provision feel as though their lives are just passing them by. Adel Bahar, an aeroplane technician from Bahrain with more than 25 years experience in his field says “all you can do is wait”.Adel has been living in Knockalisheen for more than two years now, and was originally granted the right to work in February 2018. Unable to raise the funds to pay for the work permit, he has since been denied his first instance decision and now waits on an appeal. The recent change to legislation means Mr Bahar no longer has the right to work.“I would like to be optimistic, but the process takes a long time,” said Adel.The Bahranian national added, “If people are working while waiting for appeal or their first interview, you would never imagine how much pressure it would take away from them.”Donnah Vuma, Zimbabwe, has been living in direct provision with her children for four years, “I only realise it’s four years when I look at my children, and how much they’ve changed in between that time, and how much they’ve grown.”Ms Vuma noted her youngest child was now eight-years-old, four when he arrived in Ireland, she feels part of their “childhoods have been robbed from them”, seeing how much she was unable to provide for them over the four years.“How much I haven’t been able to provide for them, to have, you know, a proper childhood, then it really starts to hit me,” Donnah told the Limerick Post.“You have people who are genuinely running away from things. I myself am not an economic migrant, I had a good job back home– a very good one– I had a family life, I had everything I was looking forward to, I never had the intention of coming to Ireland, there was never a day I would think of coming to Ireland.”Bulelani Mfaco told the Limerick Post it wasn’t safe where he lived, “In South Africa, a lot of gay people have been murdered, several of them were murdered around me in Khayelitsha where I lived. And so, I felt unsafe that I might be the next one.”He described to the Limerick Post how he was detained in a shopping centre, where he was held by security guards and was humiliated and degraded. He finds himself now in Knocklasheen Direct Provision Centre, where for some time he shared a room with a man who he describes as homophobic:“When he learnt I was gay, he said ‘I don’t like that shit’, the second time he made a comment that boys are supposed to be with girls, and I was placed in a position where I had to justify why I exist as a human being, and that’s just deeply unsettling, especially if you come from a country where you are fleeing because of persecution on the basis of your sexual orientation.”“We had a woman who was a nurse in Cameroon, she wasn’t allowed to work in Ireland for five years, she was stuck in a direct provision centre,” Bulelani said.“I was a PHD Student, I was working. I suddenly found myself in a position where I couldn’t work.”Even though many will be granted the right to work, those involved in the Right to Work movement believe people living in direct provision will meet further hurdles.Bulelani Mfaco, who was granted the right to work says he will find it difficult to get a job in his field because of some restrictions. With a background in public administration, Bulelani says he is not permitted to work in the civil service:“I was trained to work as a civil servant in my country. I have an honours degree in public administration, I was doing a PhD in public administration. I can’t work in the civil service in Ireland, I tried to apply for a job in the university but we are not allowed to work for the university as they are funded by the state.”“There are certain barriers, Employers don’t know asylum seekers now have the right to work,” said Donnah Vuma, from Zimbabwe who has been living in direct provision with her three children for almost four years.“Or there are other challenges where you maybe need a license, and I can’t have that, or you have to have a bank account to get paid, and I can’t open a bank account,” she added.Asylum seekers receive a proof of address and identification from the centre they live in, but the identification card states it is not an official form of identification.“I’m living in a centre being funded by the government, which gives me a valid proof of address and the banks cannot use it. So you are telling me I’m not staying there,” Ibrahim asks, “I don’t have a passport, you can’t accept my proof of address. Who am I? I am nobody. I’m just an asylum seeker on the streets of Ireland nobody wants to deal with. And nobody cares about.” Population of Mid West region increased by more than 3,000 in past year RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites Limerick on Covid watch list last_img read more

first_imgFor Nadya Okamoto ’20, there has rarely been a time when life wasn’t unsteady.Whether living with friends in high school during a time of financial instability for her family or amid her non-stop multitasking as a student/social entrepreneur/public speaker, the junior from Portland, Ore., is relentlessly searching for balance.“I’m a work-hard-play-hard kind of person,” said Okamoto. “People assume because I’m Asian that I have a ‘tiger mother,’ but that’s not the case. I have no pressure from my mom around school or academics. She just wants me to have mindfulness in my life and follow my passions.”The demands of co-founding PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement in high school, running for public office as a first-year, and constant speaking engagements kept Okamoto, 20, off campus as much as on during her first year at Harvard. Since founding PERIOD in 2014, Okamoto has helped expand the nonprofit to more than 230 campus chapters around the nation and abroad. It has distributed enough products for more than 380,000 periods to those in need. In addition to her academic and entrepreneurial lives, she also made an unsuccessful run for Cambridge City Council last year, and signed a book deal for “Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement,” which just came out.“We both had books in the works at Simon & Schuster,” said a bemused Jonathan Hansen, a senior lecturer on social studies who taught Okamoto in Social Studies 10. “While I was writing my biography on Fidel Castro, she was working on ‘Period Power.’ Nadya faced a tight window. My book was overdue. I could relate to the pressure.”Okamoto, who was on full financial aid for her first two years of school, wrote much of “Period Power” at Hemenway Gym and the Schlesinger Library, before finishing it during last year’s Wintersession.“I would put Post-its all over my stair climber with my headphones, and start talking into my recorder and then transcribe it,” she said. “I was writing it for all the little sisters out there, for my own sisters, and for myself.”Inspiring Okamoto to activism was a period without a home of her own. She was 16 in 2014 when financial insecurity set in. Though it was temporary, she met homeless women during that time who were using toilet paper, newspaper, and cardboard to meet their menstruation needs.“There was a never-ending cycle of organizations not prioritizing menstrual hygiene, and thus not feeling any need to invest in tampons and pads. On the other side, homeless menstruators did not feel comfortable advocating for their menstrual needs, because menstruation is something that most want to hide,” wrote Okamoto in “Period Power.” Since founding PERIOD in 2014, Okamoto has helped expand the nonprofit to more than 230 campus chapters around the nation and abroad. It has distributed enough products for more than 380,000 periods to those in need. Harvard Presidential City of Boston Fellow leading the way “There’s a lot of talk of altruism in this generation, but Nadya is more than talk,” said Hansen, noting that her sense of humor matches her activism. “One day she walked into class with cookies in the shape of tampons and all types of contraception. We discussed Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ while eating IUDs.”Hansen said Okamoto “fit right in during the seminar. But the second class ended, she was on her phone and out the door, rushing to the airport” for meetings and speaking engagements.“I’ve never seen anything like it in my 20 years at Harvard. She’d fly in for a class and right after she’d be on the phone attending to company matters,” said Hansen. “This juggling act exacted a toll. Nadya is obviously smart, but I wasn’t getting her best every week. I was not the first to suggest she consider taking time off from School, though I was perhaps a little more adamant. Social studies is immensely difficult. I told her: ‘We need all of you, or it’s not going to work.’”Okamoto agreed, and is using the time off this fall to grow PERIOD and promote the book.“I haven’t been able to invest in nurturing good relationships with professors because I don’t have time to meet with them. I was getting good grades, but I didn’t read most of the books, and I wasn’t deeply learning,” she said. “Professor Hansen’s comments on my essays felt brutal sometimes, but honest. I didn’t want to feel like 50 percent of my time here has gone by and I haven’t taken full advantage of it.”Born in New York, Okamoto grew up in Oregon. Mother Sophia Tzeng ’95 and classmate Vincent Forand, a junior at Cornell, helped found PERIOD. At the time when she founded PERIOD, she was getting out of an abusive relationship in which she experienced sexual assault, and was starting to realize the abuse that she said existed in her relationship with her father.“I’m fiercely proud of being Generation Z. I get very frustrated with the world around me,” she said. “‘I’m just going to do it’ is my attitude, and I don’t worry about the qualifications I need. I just go for it.”Okamoto is not sure what she ultimately wants to do with her young life, but said: “I love public speaking, traveling, and meeting new people. I don’t know if I want a future in politics or a nonprofit or the corporate world. But I am drawn to studying social studies because it’s all the subjects I like in one. I wanted to learn how to think critically, and it’s a small concentration where you get a lot of individual attention.”Regardless of future studies or her career, Okamoto set herself a personal goal for the school year “to get better at chill time.”“I have to make myself make time, even for sleep. It’s hard for me not to think about it as a waste of time. Running for office or running a nonprofit — I feel like I can always be sending more emails, and doing more — and it’s been a learning experience to push myself to take downtime and enjoy that.” When her life is over, she’ll have lived First-year student, a Native American, promises herself to blaze trail for others Courage, sadness, and compassion have all shaped senior Elsie Tellier’s response to her lethal disease. But not bitterness. Staying grounded ‘Pathway to public service’ Relatedlast_img read more

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