The Indo-American Refugee Migrant Organisation (IRMO) has been working since 1985 in South London providing low cost legal services to Latin American (and other) migrants. As well as these vital legal services IRMO works to help integrate the Latin American community in London through free community services, free language classes and youth and family work. As with many in the NGO sector the cuts have hit us hard and unless we raise £5000 in the next month IRMO will be forced to close, and the vital services we provide to a sector of society which is need of support will be lost. IRMO is the only organisation of its type in South London – please help keep us open!
FUNDRAISING PARTY (TBC): 10th of September @ The Latin Corner
273 Camden Road, London – N7 OJN (Click here for more info)
WHAT IS IRMO?
We are a non-profit organization aiming to provide disadvantaged communities in the UK with the tools and skills necessary for a better life. For over 25 years, IRMO has offered successful advice and artistic and educational projects to the Latin American community in London. IRMO is run by and for migrants; it currently has 220 members, 37 volunteers and serves more than 2000 beneficiaries.
Immigration advice is a crucial element to the process of integration. At IRMO we advise our clients in a clear, professional and honest way, ensuring our clients gets the right advice. We are licensed to do our work by the Offices of the Immigration Services Commission (OISC).
Social Welfare, Housing, Debt Advice
We support our community to gain access to housing, to improve their living conditions. We do this by assisting our users with issues regarding possession, harassment and illegal eviction, rent arrears and to make homeless applications, supporting them through the application process, and appeal process when needed.
We offer assistance with interpreting and translation services and organize a range of cultural, social and educational events and projects. In recent years we have run cross-cultural exchange projects, provided workshops in dance, theatre, music, the visual arts and film. We also run a number of free English classes for beginners on our premises.
English for Work
In 2010 we initated our “English for Work” project. The aim of this project which currently consists in more than 80 people, is to provide the Spanish and Portuguese speaking Latin American community that resides in Lambeth with education on English language, as a way to improve their employment opportunities and their life in London. This project supports people in their job search through different initiatives that aim to make access to new types of work more accessible.
Parental Learning Support
IRMO also opened a space to start a work together with Latin-American families and their 5 to 13 years old children, the aim of this space is to equip them with new abilities, as well as to establish spaces of integration and welfare. After undertaking different activities with the support of other projects such as ”English for work”, we started more targeted activities that consist in a learning party for children and families to learn together. As part of the project,, art activities and after school sessions are also provided to support these children and help them to improve in their self confidence and family relations.
LATIN AMERICAN YOUTH FORUM
Many Latin youngsters have difficulties with the English language, grow up in families whose experience in London is limited to low-paid and low-skilled jobs, face severe difficulties within the education system and lack support with their academic work. These factors have led to low academic achievement and extremely high rates of school and college dropout. Moreover, a worrying share of Latin youngsters face pressure to become involved in gang-culture.
To cope with these needs in 2007 IRMO launched the Latin American Youth Forum (LAYF) a youth initiative that aims to empower Latin youngsters through the arts. Through a of set educational and artistic activities (workshops in theatre, music, dance, video, radio, art and face painting) LAYF members have been able to express themselves freely and build friendships, self-esteem and understanding within their community and society at large. LAYF currently consists of 50+ youths aged 13-19 and has recently being awarded by the GLA for its important work.
In the past LAYF has received financial support from Media Box, the Southwark Youth Opportunity Fund, Lambeth Youth Opportunity Fund, THT, Metropolitan Police, Wakefield Trust and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. LAYF’s current partners are Fair Tunes, Music for Life, Tate Modern, British Museum and the University of Essex.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?
The £5000 we are trying to raise through Sponsume is to keep IRMO open till the end of September. The money will go towards running costs and pay one of our two waged staff (who have decided to work for free for the next month due to the critical financial position IRMO is in). Please see the attached budget for details.
WHAT ARE OUR LONG TERM PLANS?
We realise that the funds we want to raise through Sponsume are a stop-gap measure to keep IRMO open in the short term and are working on long term funding plans to ensure IRMO’s survival and continuation. We are in the process of applying to a number of funds and grants and are working on the creation of sustainable social enterprise projects to add income to help with IRMO’s running costs.
We are committed to providing legal advice and continuing our community work with the Latin American community in London. Our aim is to keep these vital services open as well as building the capacity of the Latin American community in the UK through training, support and social enterprise projects. Please help us ensure IRMO’s survival.
Text by Irmo